Roaring Fork superintendent takes family medical leave days before first day of school

Chief of Student and Family Services Anna Cole takes over on interim basis

Taylor Cramer
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Jesús Rodríguez.
Courtesy photo

Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Jesús Rodríguez will step back from his role this fall, making use of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as his family prepares for the arrival of a baby. 

While Rodríguez is on leave, current Chief of Student and Family Services Anna Cole will step in to serve as interim acting superintendent from Aug. 14-Oct. 20.

Following the news that Rodríguez is set to exercise his FMLA right, the superintendent said he is excited to welcome a new member to his family.

“Growing a human and being the life portal for them is incredibly difficult for birthing parents,” Rodríguez said. “In my infinite aspiration to be a better partner, I have a responsibility to be by my bride’s side during this beautiful time.”

This transition comes during a time of scrutiny within the district over superintendent housing assistance and Rodríguez’s recent real estate acquisition. 

Rodríguez has come under fire for his recent $840,000 home purchase in Denver, a decision he did not disclose to the board of education. The house’s acquisition, some distance from the school district, has raised eyebrows and elicited criticism from the community.

In response to these concerns, the Board held an executive session on Aug. 4 to address the matter in accordance with Sec. 24-6-402(4)(f)(I), C.R.S., a statute that pertains to discussing personnel matters. Such sessions are confidential and shielded by Colorado law, ensuring personnel discussions remain private. The board is set to hold another executive session on Tuesday.

In the absence of Rodríguez, The board said they remain resolute in its commitment to transparency and finding solutions that best serve the district. 

“We will continue to engage as a board via publicly noticed meetings and will share additional pertinent information with the district community as it becomes available,” the board said in a Monday statement. “This board is committed to finding a solution that is in the best interest of our students, families, staff, and larger district community.”

While the announcement of Rodríguez’ leave comes only days before the start of the school year within RFSD, Cole said that she is ready for the task at hand.

“I am committed to our district and I am honored to take on these additional responsibilities while Dr. Rodríguez is with his family,” Cole said. “We have a great team and I am looking forward to providing all the support I can.”

Roaring Fork schools begin classes on Wednesday. The board of education is set to hold its first public meeting of the school year on Aug. 23.


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