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Update: One of three finalists for Montezuma-Cortez superintendent withdraws

Another introduces himself in email Q&A

Christopher Burr, a finalist for the position of full-time superintendent of the Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the position.

He told The Journal about his withdrawal in an email Tuesday, after The Journal emailed the three finalists Wednesday with two questions for a short Q&A.

Jack (John) Props’ answers are below, edited lightly for grammar and style. David Crews did not respond.

The chosen candidate will assume the role of full-time superintendent at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, succeeding interim superintendent Tom Burris.

Colorado law requires superintendent finalists to be named at least 14 days before the position is filled. While the board may extend a formal offer to a candidate April 19 at its regular board meeting, Executive Director of Human Resources Cynthia Eldredge clarified that the board is not obligated to make a decision by then, she said in the April 5 meeting in which the finalists were announced.

Staff and community members will also interview the candidates separately from the school board.

Why did you apply for this role?

There are several reasons for applying for the job at the Montezuma-Cortez School District. First, I feel this is a great opportunity for myself as an educator. The superintendent position is one that requires being the face of the district, and to have a vision for the district to keep moving forward to meet the challenges that education is facing in order for the district to be successful. It takes an exceptional person to be a superintendent that has a unique skill set to be an effective school superintendent.

Second, I believe as superintendent, the position involves working directly with others, including establishing relationships with many interest groups and the community itself to be an effective superintendent. Building a strong rapport with constituents in the district makes for a fulfilling role of a superintendent.

And third, I feel the leadership of the school board will provide me the insights that it will take to develop and implement policies to make the Montezuma-Cortez School District the best in the state.

If selected, what do you hope to bring to the Montezuma-Cortez School District?

What I bring to the Montezuma-Cortez School District is strong leadership, experience and knowledge of the superintendent position. Over the last 24 years in education, I feel I have done it all.

Wearing many hats in the districts that I have served, I have been a special education director, a federal programs coordinator, a bus driver, and the list goes on. Having performed those duties has allowed me opportunities that I may have not otherwise been exposed to.

I feel I am an innovative leader who leads by example and is accountable for his actions and makes decisions on what is best for students’ needs. I am a leader who demonstrates high ethical standards and leads with integrity and is not afraid to make those tough decisions.

I feel I am the best candidate for the superintendent position.

Candidate backgrounds

The Journal previously published brief candidate backgrounds based on the resumes the finalists submitted to the school district. They appear below.

David Crews

Crews has 29 years of education experience and is currently the superintendent of the Sangre de Cristo School District in Mosca, starting last year.

Before that role, he served as the chief financial officer of the Lewis Palmer School District in Monument from 2019 to 2020. He held another superintendent position previous to that in the Norwood School District R2-JT from 2007 to 2019.

Crews worked in the Montezuma-Cortez School District from 1998 to 2007, first as assistant principal of Montezuma-Cortez High School and then as assistant superintendent of human resources and secondary curriculum.

His first education job was as a social studies teacher in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Crews received a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor’s degree in justice studies from Arizona State University. He also participated in a secondary education political science program at the University of Arizona.

Jack (John) Props

Props has 24 years of education experience and is currently the principal at Chama Middle and Elementary School in Chama, New Mexico.

Previous to that role, he served as the superintendent of Vaughn Municipal Schools in Vaughn, New Mexico, from 2015 to 2021.

Before that, Props worked for Melrose Municipal Schools in Melrose, New Mexico, beginning as a science teacher. After working as an elementary school principal, he served as a STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) coordinator and then as a special education director for the district.

He also worked as a science teacher in two other New Mexico school districts.

Before beginning his education career, Props served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years.

He received a master’s degree in education administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in science, physical education and health from Eastern New Mexico University.