2022 Rural Superintendent Academy Cohort

The second cohort of Rural Superintendent Academy (RSA) Fellows includes superintendents and principals from an array of districts across the state. These leaders will engage in focused convenings and field visits to establish a cohesive, relationship-based, professional network through which key leadership competencies are coached, experienced, and mastered. 

RSA logo

Elizabeth Bauer

West Grand School District 1-JT
Kremmling, Colorado

Elizabeth Bauer has held many roles at the middle and high school level, including secondary English teacher, principal, athletic director, and newly announced superintendent of West Grand School District 1-JT. Elizabeth’s 14+ years of experience are rooted in the vision of providing all students the best opportunities to grow, learn, and discover.

“I came to the role of superintendent in unexpected fashion, so I know I need the support of colleagues and experts who have gone down this road ahead of me. The West Grand School District has an outstanding relationship with CEI, so taking advantage of this opportunity is a natural fit.”

Derek Burnside

Peyton School District 23
Peyton, Colorado

Derek Burnside has been a secondary social studies teacher, high school level administrator, dean of students, athletic director, and a middle-high school principal. This upcoming 2022-2023 school year will be his first as a superintendent, leading in Peyton School District 23. Derek’s passion is with rural education and believes the most dynamic educators can be found in rural settings.

“I applied for the RSA because a past Fellow encouraged me to do so. As a brand-new superintendent, I desire to collaborate with others who are walking in my shoes. I look forward to working together with other members of my cohort to learn from and share best practices and to receive and offer support.”

Tony Byrd

Summit School District
Frisco, Colorado

Tony Byrd is moving to Colorado and joining Summit School District as Superintendent starting in the 2022-2023 school year. His experience has taken him up the west coast and into rural communities of Washington. Tony has a deep commitment to understanding and supporting the assets and needs of students and families in rural communities.

“By participating in the RSA, I hope to develop a deeper understanding of the assets and needs of rural communities in Colorado while picking up some tools about how best to do this work and developing relationships that will last me the rest of my career as an education leader.”

Marsha Cody

Haxtun School District RE-2J
Haxtun, Colorado

Marsha Cody is entering her fourth year as a rural system leader with experience as a teacher, central office leader, and superintendent of schools. She has a strong history of working with “incredible risk-takers who have advanced public education toward better results.”

“I applied to the Academy because I recognize the many inequities that exist in accessing educational opportunities in rural settings. I want to make a difference for children in my district, and I look forward to working alongside a group of high-quality thought partners.”

Jackie Crabtree

Custer County Schools
Westcliffe, Colorado

Jackie Crabtree grew up in rural settings, leading to her life-long commitment to rural education. She graduated from the University of Southern Colorado at Pueblo with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and earned her master’s in education leadership from Adam’s State University. Jackie has been a teacher, a principal, a director of academic affairs, and a superintendent of schools. She will begin new duties as the Custer County School District system leader in summer 2022. 

“I understand it takes time to grow into the role of a superintendent in a rural school district. Through the Rural Superintendent Academy, I hope to grow in supporting my new board by learning from and leaning on others doing the same work.”

Keith Crispell

Creede School District
Creede, Colorado

Keith Crispell comes from a background with multiple licenses and a willingness to serve where needed in the K-12 education space. Currently serving as superintendent of Creede School District, Keith is eager to continue his journey as a leader in a rural community.

“I have only been a superintendent since COVID started. Unfortunately, I have been spending all my time putting out fires. I am hopeful the RSA process will help me get back in the swing of moving my district forward by providing me with knowledge, resources, and connections to help me implement best education practices in my unique community setting.”

Elizabeth Domangue

Manitou Springs School District
Manitou Springs, Colorado

Elizabeth Domangue started as a special education teacher and has served in a wide variety of school leadership roles, presently as superintendent of Manitou Springs School District. Elizabeth takes her role as a rural school system leader with urgent stride, knowing that each child in her district only has one opportunity to receive the support they need.

“My best hope is to be able to learn from leaders in similar roles at similar stages in their careers. I realize small districts have unique circumstances, so gaining access to colleagues from all over Colorado will help me effectively serve my community.”

Brian Duwe

Aurora Public Schools
Aurora, Colorado

Brian Duwe presently serves as principal at North Middle School in Aurora School District. Having grown up in a rural background, he understands what it takes to attract a good team of educators to a small town. He is dedicated to ensuring students in the school system are given the opportunities to grow and thrive at the things they are most passionate about.v

“By participating in the RSA, I hope to gain a better understanding of what it is like to work in and lead a rural system. I have been a building principal for a while, and I’m hopeful many of the tools I’ve gathered will transfer to district level leadership. However, I realize I have a lot to learn about what it takes to guide a system, be it rural or not, from a district level.”

Diana Jones

Alamosa School District
Alamosa, Colorado

Diana Jones comes from an educational background that truly encompasses everything it takes to run a school. From operations and transportation to 16 years as an elementary school administrator, she is now taking her career from Oklahoma to Alamosa School District to serve as superintendent. One of Diana’s many strengths as a rural system leader is the ability to see the greater vision and break it down into actionable steps for her team.

“As I enter into my second year as a Superintendent in Colorado, the RSA will help me connect and grow with other leaders from across the state.”

Kevin Jones

Center Consolidated School District 26JT
Center, Colorado

Kevin Jones grew up in Alamosa, Colorado and comes from a family of educators. He has served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal in Center, Colorado since 1998. Mr. Jones was named Colorado High School Principal of the Year in 2014 on the strength of increased graduation rates, decreased dropout rates, high student growth on state assessments, and an incredible increase of students engaging in postsecondary learning after graduating.

“By participating in the RSA, I hope to learn more about what it takes to be a superintendent of schools. I know this will serve me well, whether I remain in a building leadership position or seek to lead a district at some point in the future.”

Tod Lokey

Ouray School District R-1
Ouray, Colorado

Tod Lokey grew up in western Colorado and is now serving as superintendent and high school principal in Ouray School District R-1. After spending time working for the BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) in Colorado, he has been able to see how rural communities can work together to build more opportunities for students. Clear communication and a collaborative leadership style have given him success as a rural education leader.

“I hope to gain superintendent-level professional development support that I have been lacking to this point, and gain access to a network of “For the past two years, I have been a pandemic superintendent, with a narrow focus on simply keeping my buildings open to kids. As we move forward, I am excited to learn things about leading a small district including planning for success far into the future. I hope the RSA will surround me with people I can learn from while I engage in this.”colleagues who I can learn from as I continue my work as a rural system leader.”  

Kimba Rael

Centennial School District R-1
San Luis, Colorado

Kimba Rael has spent much of her career teaching in the San Luis Valley, currently as PreK-12 principal in Centennial School District R-1. Kimba is a firm believer that opportunity must be available to all students, and she seeks to support students with high-quality instruction, access to internships and work-based learning, and a system that elevates their experience.

“By participating in RSA, I hope to grow my professional network and learn more about developing and supporting a future-focused district vision and mission in ways that live beyond staff turnover and include community input and aspirations.”

Jesús Rodríguez

Roaring Fork Schools
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Dr. Jesús Rodrigúez will become superintendent of schools in the Roaring Fork School District in summer 2022. A Colorado native, he most recently served as the chief academic officer for the Dallas Independent School District. Dr. Rodrigúez holds degrees from three Colorado higher education institutions, including a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Denver and a master’s in educational equity and cultural diversity from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Rodríguez is an educational product of Weld RE3-J and 27J school districts in Hudson and Brighton. He led CU-Boulder’s BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, served as principal of Trevista at Horace Mann, and as an instructional superintendent for Denver Public Schools. 

“I am excited to participate in the Rural Superintendent Academy because through it, I expect to be able to think, learn, share with, and lean on others for support as I grow in my new role in Roaring Fork.”

Amy Ward

North Park School District R-1
Walden, Colorado

Amy Ward has worked in small rural education systems for 25 years, moving from one leadership role to the next. Beyond leading a strong K-12 school as principal, she prides herself in knowing her community and enriching it while building school partnerships with community organizations. Amy is serving as superintendent of North Park School District.

“It is my belief principals are warriors. However, the superintendency has presented me with opportunities and challenges I could never have imagined. The decisions I make are incredibly impactful to my community. Thus, I need to grow. I want to fill my toolbox with strategies and resources to support and strengthen my school district.”

2021 Rural Superintendent Academy Cohort

Adam Hartman

Assistant Superintendent
Cañon City Schools
Cañon City, Colorado

Dr. Brian Hill

Assistant Superintendent
Mesa County Valley School District 51
Grand Junction, Colorado

Cindy Lystad

Sterling High School
Sterling, Colorado

Dan Melendrez

Florence JR/SR High School
Florence, Colorado

Toby Melster

Centennial School District R-1
San Luis, Colorado

Luis Murillo

Luis Murillo
Assistant Superintendent
Alamosa School District

Alamosa, Colorado 

Chris Smith

Ellicott School District 22
Ellicott, Colorado

Sarah White

Moffat Consolidated School District #2
Moffat, Colorado

Carrie Zimmerman

Center Consolidated School District
Center, Colorado