Cherry Creek Superintendent Harry Bull announces retirement

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AURORA | Cherry Creek Superintendent Harry Bull announced he will retire at the end of the current school year.

Bull said he will step down from the role he’s been in since 2013 during an emotional speech on Jan. 8 at the CCSD school board meeting. In his speech, he said the decision was prompted by wanting to spend time with his family and deal with an unspecified health concern.

Bull said after the meeting he was stepping down on advice from his cardiologist.

“It’s hard to find an off button when you’re doing that kind of work and that’s part of the reasoning behind a very difficult decision,” Bull said. “This isn’t an easy choice. I’ve been blessed to serve as the superintendent for the Cherry Creek School District, an organization that has taught me the true meaning of excellence. To say my departure will be bittersweet is an vast understatement.”

Abbe Smith, spokeswoman for CCSD, said the board would move quickly to decide on a process and what the next steps would be to find Bull’s replacement.  

During the short speech, Bull broke down several times as he thanked the community he’s a part of for allowing him to help lead the district.

“Thank you for giving me the chance to lead. Thank you for teaching me the definition of excellence,” Bull said.

When Bull steps down in May, it will end a more than 34-year career with CCSD as a teacher, administrator, assistant superintendent and superintendent. Among his accolades, Bull was named the state’s top superintendent by the Colorado Association of School Executives for 2017. Bull is currently is in the midst of a year-long term as president of CASE’s executive committee that ends in July.

Lisa Escárcega, executive director of CASE, has known and worked with Bull for years and was excited he was able to retire to spend more time raising his children and attending to his health. But she said CASE would find ways to make sure that even as Bull retires, his voice will remain in the debate on public education and as a mentor to other administrators.

Escárcega said Bull has been and will continue to be a pivotal player in statewide talks on how to finance public education. The day after announcing his retirement, Bull was with Escárcega at the state capitol testifying in front of the Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance.

“When it comes to the discussions on school finance, we was a very pivotal player,” Escárcega said. “He can bring diverse groups of individuals together and get them to collaborate. He’s a real leader. He leads by example and he leads by the work he does.”