Douglas County School Board Superintendent Hires Erin Kane Scott Gessler Update
During a March 22 meeting that lasted nearly eight hours and did not end until early March 23, the Douglas County School Boardin the biggest surprise since the sun rose in the east, voted to hire the controversial Erin Kane to serve as superintendent for the Douglas County School District. Kane will replace Corey Wise, who was fired on February 4 by the four-member conservative bloc of Peterson, Kaylee Winegar, Becky Myers and Christy Williams elected in November 2021.
Even though Kane clearly had majority support for the superintendent gig, his colleague David Ray – who, along with Elizabeth Hanson and Susan Meek, had opposed Wise’s pink slip – backed Danny Winsor, the only other finalist for the post, calling it a less confrontational option. But a vote on that proposal lost by what became the typical 4-3 margin.
Kane, a former acting DCSD superintendent contacted by Peterson regarding the superintendent’s job even before Wise was fired, is a Republican, and although she tried to downplay party affiliation during her public interview, her hiring is clearly part of the turn to the right carried out by the members of the majority. Peterson and company reversed the masking policies supported by Wise but opposed by Kane during her final gig as executive director of American Academy Schools, a Dougco Magna Carta.
Hiring Kane wasn’t the only action taken at the meeting. Council members also added a new attorney to the legal team to defend them against a lawsuit filed by Douglas County resident Robert Marshall: Gessler’s blue law, the namesake company of former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who ran unsuccessfully for leader of the Colorado Republican Party last year. Gessler’s previous clients included former President Donald Trump’s campaign, which hired him as a “testimonial expert” in support of election challenges over fictitious fraud allegations in Nevada and Pennsylvania and retained him for a similar role related to pre-election prosecutions in Georgia. , Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Marshall’s lawsuit argues that Peterson, Winegar, Myers and Williams violated Colorado’s open meeting law in the way they staged Wise’s ouster, and an 18th Judicial District judge has granted a motion for an injunction preliminary based on the prospects of success of the claim.
During a special meeting earlier this month, Hanson called “absurd” the idea of spending what would likely be a large chunk of taxpayers’ money to fight the decision, and the revelation that the company District insurance had refused to cover such a battle in February seemed to bolster his view. Although the Douglas County School District did not respond to Westword‘s on how these costs would be covered, Dougco announced that Gessler Blue Law would work at a reduced rate alongside Hall & Evans LLC.
News that Gessler would be joining the district’s legal team has been circulating for several days, and on March 22, Marshall addressed the matter in a letter to board members. During his tenure as secretary of state, Marshall pointed out, Gessler was cited by the Independent Ethics Commission and his two appeals, including one to the Colorado Supreme Court, were both unsuccessful. “Given that the integrity of this counsel is now in question, it seems a very peculiar choice to decide to use, among the thousands of state attorneys, the one who has committed such high-profile ethical violations when the BoE and its four new members have already been found guilty of unlawful and unlawful conduct by a court,” Marshall claimed.
Continue watching the entire March 22 meeting of the Douglas County School Board.