JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Jeffco Public Schools is introducing their new superintendent to the community. Tracy Dorland is set to officially take over the position on Monday.

Dorland is no stranger to Colorado’s Front Range. She grew up as a student in Jeffco Public Schools and has two children in the district. Dorland comes to Jefferson County from Adams 12 Five Star Schools. There, she served as Chief Academic Officer, overseeing curriculum, school supervision, and special education before moving to the Deputy Superintendent role. She also worked in both classroom and administrative roles at Denver Public Schools.

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(credit: Jeffco Public Schools)

“I chose to apply for the Jeffco superintendent position, and only that position, partly because Jeffco is my home,” Dorland told CBS4. “I raised my family here, I have two students who are in middle school, and I’ve lived the majority of my life in Jeffco.”

The Mullen High School grad takes over a district charting a course out of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dorland says the lessons learned over the last year sets them up for success in the coming years.

“I think that the pandemic has provided an opportunity for our students to show real resiliency, and I believe we’re going to have a good end to our school year now that we’re back, for the most part, full-time with our students,” Dorland said. “One of my priorities will most definitely be making sure that we have a pandemic plan going into the ’21-’22 school year, that is supportive of our students, their academic needs, their social-emotional needs, and that celebrates the resiliency that I think they’ve been able to build over the last year.”

(credit: CBS)

One of Dorland’s many focuses in the role will be on access to mental health resources for both staff and students.

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“It is an issue I think it’s an issue, not just because of the pandemic,” Dorland said. “In Adams 12, we did a lot of work around social-emotional learning and our last mill levy override supported funding for that. So I’m a strong believer in it. I have experience in that arena at the district level and creating systems and structures to support mental health for both staff and students.”

Dorland was a classroom teacher in Denver Public Schools early in her career. She says the district will have a conversation about balancing district systems with school autonomy.

“I understand that that’s a continuum that we are a large district with many unique communities that need flexibility to meet the needs of their communities, and at the same time, our schools need systems and structures to hang their hat on, to do some good improvement work and quality programming for students,” Dorland said. “We have to find the balance between what we need to be tight around and common and consistent. And where do our schools need those flexibilities to meet their most local needs.”

Dorland is a graduate of the University of Colorado, and is a big Buffs football fan.

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She officially starts in her position as district superintendent on April 19.

Ben Warwick