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News Release - Hammond Appoints Keith Owen as Associate Commissioner

June 30, 2011

News Release

Education commissioner appoints key executive to lead important state education reforms

Education Commissioner Robert Hammond announced today that he has appointed Dr. Keith Owen as his new associate commissioner. In this new role, Owen will oversee the state’s special education programs, federal programs including Title I, support for local school districts, and accountability systems.

“With the Colorado Department of Education’s increasing responsibilities in improving education, as well as serving the rural areas of our state, it was critical for us to hire an education professional with solid experience in increasing performance and the rural expertise to work with CDE staff to carry out the mission set forth in A Rural Needs Study: Improving CDE Services to Rural School Districts,” Hammond said. “I’m so pleased Keith has agreed to take on these responsibilities as a part of our new team. He is highly regarded by his peers for his leadership in rural education issues and his depth of understanding of academic research and implementation.”

Owen comes to the state department from the Durango School District where he’s served as the superintendent for the last three years. During his tenure in Durango, he is credited with initiating a principal professional development program for principals in the southwest portion of the state.

Prior to that, Owen served in a variety of leadership positions with the Pueblo City School District. His experience in Pueblo included being a teacher, principal, director of reading programs, executive director of elementary education and chief academic officer. In these roles, Owen honed his expertise in the areas of literacy, implementing effective accountability systems, and school improvement.

The issue of student health has also been an issue of great importance to Owen and his school community. He’s been recognized as a state leader in coordinating effective programs to boost student health. He was selected to represent Colorado superintendents at the national level when he served on the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators. In addition, he served on a statewide committee to guide the development of curriculum standards for Colorado schools.

Owen will transition to his new position throughout the month of August.

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