Jim Christensen’s decision to resign as Douglas County School District’s Superintendent came down to his 8-year-old daughter, Linda. “The …
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Jim Christensen’s decision to resign as Douglas County School
District’s Superintendent came down to his 8-year-old daughter,
“The opportunity kind of fell in my lap, honestly,” Christensen
After adopting Linda two years ago from Haiti, Christensen has
spent a lot of his personal time engaged with mission work.
He was approached by a group in Texas who was investigating a
start-up company to deal with the drop-off rate in education with a
strong drive to close the achievement gap in underprivileged
“I want to be part of this think-tank,” Christensen said. “I
don’t know where we will land, but this is a chance I don’t want to
walk away from.” Christensen’s last official day will be Oct.
At an emergency succession meeting of the school board Aug. 24,
a motion was approved to designate Steve Herzog, chief operating
officer, “as the sole finalist to be the interim superintendent
until the board selects its superintendent.”
Douglas County Board of Education President Kristen Turner said
she believes there were several reasons Christensen decided to move
“I can’t climb into his head, but I believe there were a
combination of factors,” Turner said. She mentioned political
reasons may have effected a decision to leave, but that, she said,
“played a lessor role I am sure.” Four seats on the Douglas County
School Board are up for election Nov. 3.
Christensen said election results, the budget cuts and changes
in the school procedures did not impact his decision.
“I have been through tougher times,” Christensen said. “I
probably have three or five opportunities come my way every year,
and if I was running from what I was facing here, I would have done
it a couple years ago.”
In Christensen’s resignation letter to the staff, he thanked the
staff and supporting community teams associated with the
“Simply stated, you are the best I have ever been around,”
Herzog said he learned of the superintendent’s news “fifteen
minutes before the rest of the world.”
Herzog offers 30 years in education with 15 of those in Douglas
In the meantime, Turner said the board of education will work
with a consultant, as the search for a new superintendent
“Whether or not we will hire Steve full-time, we have to go
through candidates and will conduct a full-blown search,” Turner
said. “It basically will be the job of a new school board.”
Christensen said that Herzog has participated in activities at
the superintendent level for a long time, and with a strong
succession plan and good policies already in place, the transition
should be successful.
“There are some community collaborative issues we need Steve to
get in the middle of,” Christensen said. “But we are getting it all
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