Terrance Carroll, Denver Public Schools’ chief legal counsel, stepping down after 7 months

Former Colorado House Speaker, pictured next to his portrait at its unveiling at the Blair Caldwell Library in an exhibit of 21st century African-American leaders

Terrance Carroll is leaving Denver Public Schools, stepping down from his position as chief legal and strategic initiatives officer after just seven months on the job.

Carroll, the former speaker of the Colorado House, is leaving Oct.19, the same day Superintendent Tom Boasberg is vacating the post he has held for 10 years. Carroll, who started his DPS job in April, said in a statement that although his tenure has been relatively short, “the impact on my life has been incredibly rewarding.”

“I came to DPS to assist Tom to move forward his strategic vision for the district,” Carroll said. “After much soul-searching I’ve decided that this departure is an opportunity to utilize my skills as a lawyer and strategist to assist entrepreneurs, nonprofits and other businesses to achieve that potential.”

Carroll couldn’t be reached for further comment.

Boasberg said in a statement that Carroll “has been a critical thought leader and strategist in his time at DPS, and we will miss his leadership and counsel.”

DPS board member Jennifer Bacon said she respects Carroll’s decision to leave. “He is taking an opportunity to pursue his interests and I wish him the best,” Bacon said.

Carroll, who was the first African-American speaker of the Colorado House, served a senior official under Boasberg overseeing the district’s legal, communications and public affairs departments.

Some criticized Carroll’s appointment as adding to a bloated bureaucracy at DPS. The district’s legal and communications department already had department heads before Carroll came on board, Corey Kern, spokesman for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said. “A lot of teachers saw that as a huge waste of money,” Kern said.

Under Carroll, DPS also paid $20,000 in legal bills for a group of current and former East High School administrators accused of failing to report a student’s alleged sexual assault. Carroll said the educators followed every protocol that they were legally required to follow.

Carroll had been working as an attorney with the Denver firm Butler Snow. He represented the northeast part of the city as a Democratic state representative from 2003 to 2011, when he left the legislature because he was term-limited. While in office, Carroll co-sponsored a bill that created “innovation schools,” which are district-run schools but are run like charter schools with flexible curriculums.

Carroll’s departure means even fewer African-Americans are in administrative and teaching positions at DPS. Thirteen percent of the district’s 92,000 students are African-American, while in 2016 just 4 percent of DPS teachers were black.

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