Betsy Chase: Forgive Dr. D


I would like to share my experiences working directly with John DeVincentis for eight years at Strawberry Park Elementary School and indirectly with him for more than eighteen years.

First let me say that I understand the concern around John's comments, which were recently published in the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

I am equally concerned about the Pilot & Today's judgment in publishing those comments (public record or not) and even more concerned about the recent public lynching of John. I do not believe any member of our community deserves to be maligned to the degree John has been this past week, and I am disappointed that some in our community have been so vigilant in their public condemnation of him.

During the years I taught under John's leadership, I witnessed a most hard-working, dedicated, intelligent and creative leader. John's car was in the school parking lot most mornings by 6:30 a.m. and was still there at 7 p.m. (or later) many nights. The same was true on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to carrying out the many routine administrative responsibilities of a principal, a typical day for John included frequent visits to classrooms, regular attendance at special education staffings (where he completed the IEP record-keeping - a loathsome task), lunch with small groups of students every Friday, and continual daily efforts to insure the best possible education for every one of the students in his building. He was devoted to unlocking new and better methods for reaching each varied learner, be that learner "average," "learning disabled" or "gifted/talented."

He implemented multi-aged and multi-graded classrooms and worked diligently with his teachers to make these educational strategies a success. He knew the name of every student in his building and can still greet them by name many years later. During my 25 years teaching in public schools and eight years instructing at the University of Colorado, I have not known a finer administrator than John DeVincentis. To lose his valuable expertise and input to our school system would be a sad loss.

I urge the Pilot & Today and our community to forgive John for a harmful mistake and let the "Dr. D" who has given so much continue to make our school district a better one.

Betsy Chase

Steamboat Springs


Scott Wedel 10 years ago

"recent public lynching of John"

He lynched himself. His emails were not like what most people have done one time or another. Yes, most people get angry at times, but hoping to use Cindy Simms daughter to force her mother out as superintendent is not normal thinking.

Simple question: Do you think someone that angry and vindictive against one female superintendent can be trusted to fairly supervise another female superintendent 3 years later?


sarakg 10 years ago

I am so sorry, because I think you were taken in by DeVincentis' charisma. Don't forget, Mao, Napoleon, and Nixon were all about the same, and, sadly for our district and community, the board has chosen to allow DeVencintis to persue his own agenda at the cost of public tax dollars and reputation. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but as long as Kozatch, Connolly, and DeVincentis remail on school board, I will be revoking my support for the district IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, including but not limited to 1/2 cent sales tax, bonds, and state and federal subsidization. I am sure that many of you will consider this a personal vendetta against DeVincentis.

He is not a person I consider to be able nor competent in an elected position. I will work an extra shift four times a week to ensure that my children will NEVER EVER be exposed to DeVincentis and/or his cronies, and I will consider it a privilage to do so. John, I only can hope that you can still do the right thing. An internal investigation is not only against the majority of public interest (Scott, can we have multiple polls going?), but also against board policy, as stated in the follwing policy which was revised Oct. 18, 2004, long before John's election to SSSD's BOE. This policy basically states that the BOE will establish a policy that reflects the values and benefits of all students, which probably, considering the excellent character of these students, is not in line with DeVincentis' remarks and attempts to "follow through" with regards to Dr. Simms. If nothing else, these emails prove a pattern of behavior against these policies.

Denise is also in violation of board policies. They state, essentially, that deliberations assumed by the board are fair, COMPETENT, open, and thorough, but also efficient, timely, orderly, and to the point. Finally, this very same policy mandates that regulation of board policy is monitored in agendas and requires prior notice to the community when special meetings will be held. If anyone needs reference to these policies, please see: and after following the BPE link, look on the far right for "Board Policies."


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