Original source: Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) October 2016
Dr. Harry Bull, superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District, was selected as the Colorado Superintendent of the Year for 2017. The selection was made by a committee of previous award winners and superintendents. Dr. Bull will represent Colorado in the 2017 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year program.
“Harry Bull is an outstanding district leader and held in very high regard by his peers across the state,” said CASE Executive Director Lisa Escárcega. “He is tireless in his advocacy for students and public education, and one of the most effective voices at the state level when it comes to making the case for adequate school funding. CASE benefits greatly from his expertise and involvement and we are so proud to honor him with this award.”
Dr. Bull became superintendent of Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) in July 2013, and has worked in the district for more than 33 years with roles including assistant principal, principal, executive director of high school education and assistant superintendent of human resources. CCSD spans 108 square miles in the eastern side of the metro Denver area with more than 54,000 students enrolled in the 42 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and seven high schools. Nationally recognized for excellence in academics, athletics, arts, and other student activities, the district has been named to the Forbes list of America’s Best Large Employers for the last two years.
“I’m truly humbled to receive this award,” said Dr. Bull. “It’s an incredible honor and representative of the hard work occurring across our district by every staff member on behalf of our students. Every child deserves a high-quality education, and I’m proud to lead a school district that delivers each day on that vision and promise.”
Chief among Dr. Bull’s accomplishments has been his strong leadership in the fight for adequate school funding. Along with other members of the Denver Area School Superintendent’s Council, in 2013, he convened over 70 Colorado superintendents for a two-day meeting to develop a unified strategy for school finance advocacy at the Legislature. Resulting from that gathering was a powerful position paper sent to state elected officials calling for a restoration of some of the nearly $1 billion in K-12 funding that had been held back during the economic recession. The superintendents’ efforts drew widespread media attention and were credited with helping to secure more funding for public education.
In addition to joining forces with his superintendent colleagues in the fight for K-12 dollars, Dr. Bull mobilized Cherry Creek parents, community members, and other stakeholders to push state policymakers for more student funding. He explained the issue in both plain and urgent terms, and took to social media, local news media, and parent communications a call to action that resulted in Cherry Creek parents and community members sending hundreds of emails to legislators urging for a restoration of public education dollars.
Within the district, Dr. Bull is intently focused on boosting student achievement and ensuring that all kids have the support they need to succeed. From 2013 to 2016, the graduation rate for Hispanic students in the district has increased by almost 4 percent (from 82.1 percent to 85.8 percent), and the mean ACT composite score for students of color has increased by 1.3 points.
Dr. Bull has been committed to providing inclusive excellence for all students – White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Special Needs, Gifted and Talented and English Language Learners. The district has twice been recognized by the Colorado Department of Education for its work in closing the opportunity gap for ELL students.
Under Dr. Bull’s leadership, the district also was recognized as one of two of the 20 largest school districts in Colorado as making the most progress in narrowing the opportunity gap by Rocky Mountain PBS in their Emmy award winning documentary “Standing in the Gap.”
The 2017 AASA National Superintendent of the Year will be announced at the 2017 AASA National Conference on Education in New Orleans next spring. Candidates are evaluated on leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and community involvement.