Principal Lessard Announces Retirement
Dear George Washington Community:
In my 30 years in education, I have never experienced a community that is as driven, committed, and unstoppable as the one here at George. It has been an honor to serve in a leadership role at GW over the past four years. During this time, we have come together to tackle the work of making One George a reality — creating a place where all students can find their path of opportunity to reach their goals and find success.
We have made incredible progress, and I have complete confidence in the staff and the community to stay focused on serving all students for years to come. Knowing this makes my decision to transition from the principal’s role a bit easier. I believe it is now time for me to announce my intention to step aside to allow the next era of leadership to take root at George and to carry forward this important work.
Once a new leader has been selected and we have created an appropriate transition timeline, I will be leaving my role as principal of GW. I am sharing the decision now because I have asked district leaders to start the process of finding a highly qualified principal for the 2018-19 school year. My intent is that the two of us can work together in transition to continue our growth and success as a school. My commitment is to stay and serve the GW community until this transition is complete so that there is a seamless experience for our students and community.
As the principal of George, I am extremely proud to have worked alongside some of the most talented teachers and staff members in our district. It has been my privilege to engage in this mission with a community that works so tirelessly with passion and purpose. I could not be more humbled to have been a part of the lives of the many students and families who have attended and given so much to George Washington High School.
I sincerely appreciate the freedom and support Superintendent Tom Boasberg, the Board of Education, and the community have given me while leading the effort to create One George. While I will be retiring, it is my hope to continue to make positive contributions to DPS in the years to come.
In the coming months, there will be a thorough and intentional principal selection process, involving input from our staff, students, families and community members. Next week, at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 19, we will host a meeting at George to respond to any questions or concerns you might have. I will also host an additional meeting for students on Monday, December 18 at 11:30am in the Community Room. Parents, please share this information with your students and let them know about these opportunities to learn more.
Please know that I will continue in every way I can to support the staff and the students even after the transition, and that I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have served as your principal.
Scott J. Lessard
Principal | George Washington High School
Dear George Washington Community:
As Principal Scott Lessard recently shared with you, he has announced his intention to retire. We are grateful for the countless contributions Scott has made to our school, our students and our community, and appreciate his support during this transition, including his willingness to stay at George to support the creation of a supportive transition for the new principal once s/he is selected.
We now have the responsibility of filling this key leadership position. Denver Public Schools has a robust and multi-step process for selecting school principals. To identify the best leader for George, that process will begin mid-year to ensure we have many strong candidates.
Here is an overview of the typical DPS principal selection process:
Becoming a candidate for principal vacancies: To become part of the DPS principal candidate pool, applicants must complete a rigorous process that includes the use of data to determine school needs, demonstration of the ability to manage a budget, participation in scenarios facing school leaders, teacher coaching and extensive interviews. Once a candidate is admitted into the pool, they may apply for specific school vacancies.
When a school has a principal vacancy: Selection of a new leader begins with staff and community coming together to identify the desired qualities and characteristics for the next principal. Interested staff and community members have the opportunity to apply to be part of the advisory committee, which consists of a representative group of the school community. Look for information in the coming weeks regarding dates for community input on the desired qualities and characteristics for the next leader of GW and how to apply to be on the principal selection advisory committee.
The advisory committee and the school’s instructional superintendent, who oversees the principal, collaborate on interview questions and review potential candidates for consideration. The committee then conducts interviews to identify two or three finalists.
Finalists take part in a learning walk where they observe teachers and identify areas for coaching or continued development. Finalists also attend a community forum where they respond to audience questions and audience members provide feedback forms.
Throughout the selection process, the instructional superintendent compiles a report that is shared with Superintendent Tom Boasberg, who uses the report in his interviews with the finalists. Based on the report, staff and community feedback, and interviews with the finalists, the superintendent selects the new principal.
As we get closer to starting the process at George Washington, more details and a timeline will be provided. Next week, at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 19, we will host a meeting at George to respond to any questions or concerns you might have. We apologize for the short notice but wanted to provide this opportunity prior to winter break.
Thank you for your continued support of our school and our students.
Scott Mendelsberg, Ph.D.