Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn has been named the 2019 Colorado Superintendent of the Year. The Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) recently announced the prestigious selection.
"This award is a testament to the incredible work of our students, staff members, families and community,” said Superintendent Munn. “Aurora Public Schools is a truly unique and dynamic school district where I am honored to serve as superintendent every day. I share this honor with the entire APS family that works relentlessly for student success."
Under Munn’s leadership, APS has celebrated some big milestones. Last year, the district earned its way off the Colorado Department of Education’s Accountability Clock. Over the past five years, graduation rates have climbed more than 15% and dropout rates have been cut in half. In addition, APS continues to see improvements in student growth and achievement.
Munn’s hard work earned 27 of the district’s schools “Performance” ratings, the highest possible rating in Colorado’s accountability system, and the district won a “District of Distinction” award, a national annual recognition program created by District Administration magazine.
One of Munn’s goals in reforming APS was to implement a restorative justice system, in an attempt to decrease and improve discipline rates. Since Munn first came to APS in 2013, the district’s expulsion rates have fallen by 70%, and suspensions by 28%.
“Every measurable indicator shows that we are a district with momentum,” Superintendent Munn said. “APS is changing outcomes for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, race or gender.”
“Having worked for and with Rico over the past several years, I can say that I’ve never met a more courageous and principled leader. He does what is right for kids even if that’s the unpopular or difficult decision, and is remarkably mindful in his approach to leading the school district,” said CASE Executive Director, Lisa Escárcega. “Rico is the last to seek credit for his work and accomplishments; he prefers to keep the focus on the priorities that staff and teachers are pursuing to improve student achievement. He is most deserving of this honor, and Colorado is so fortunate to benefit from his public education leadership.”
Munn, who is the first person of color to serve as APS superintendent, has had a successful leadership career for years prior to entering this position. With a background as a successful attorney, Munn was appointed in 2012 to the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System by Governor John Hickenlooper, and he continues to serve as chair of that board. He’s also been a member of Governor Bill Ritter’s Cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
As Colorado’s Superintendent of the Year, Munn will represent the state in the 2019 American Association of School Administrators (AASA)’s National Superintendent of the Year program.