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Denver school board confirms new superintendent Alex Marrero despite ongoing lawsuit

The Board of Education confirmed Alex Marrero as the district’s next superintendent Thursday, just days after he was named in a federal lawsuit in his former district in New York state.

But there was no discussion about the lawsuit, which alleges Marrero and other New Rochelle district officials “wrongly silenced” and retaliated against the former medical director during the pandemic. School board members took turns praising Marrero and the district’s process to fill the position.

Six members said they look forward to working with Marrero; Angela Cobián told him: “I believe you are the right person that I can entrust my former students’ future with you.”

Only board member Barbara O’Brien voted against Marrero, saying she was concerned that it’ll be a challenging learning curve for him to move to a district the size of Denver.

“I don’t think our process produced the kind of stellar applicants for superintendent of Denver Public Schools that I think we deserved to get,” O’Brien said.

After the board’s vote, Marrero underscored his passion for being an educational leader, his desire to help students succeed and his plans to address inequality.

“All of you strive for excellence, that’s why I’m here,” Marrero said.

The 38-year-old will make $260,000 a year to run Colorado’s largest school district. His contract starts July 6 and runs through June 30, 2023. He replaces Susana Cordova, who resigned in December after less than two years to become the deputy superintendent in the Dallas Independent School District.

Marrero will have to lead about 90,000 students, 10,177 full-time employees and 4,780 teachers out of the pandemic, as well as deal with a projected 6% drop in enrollment by 2025.

After The Post broke the news of the lawsuit last Friday, Board President Carrie Olson and Vice President Jennifer Bacon reaffirmed their faith in Marrero, noting that the litigation was not filed against him alone.

Marrero stood out in interviews as a leader whose experience and background will benefit the district, members of the Colorado Latino Forum said.

But two groups — the Colorado Black Round Table and Latino Education Council — had called for board to restart its superintendent search because they were dissatisfied with the three finalists. The former rallied around Marrero once it was announced he would take over the district’s top seat, but the Latino Education Council held fast even as the board’s vote approached.

“Now is not the time for the Denver School Board to be making the most important decision of its tenure, the selection of the next superintendent,” officials with the Latino Education Council said Thursday afternoon in a statement.

Not only is the pending lawsuit against Marrero concerning, they said, but so too are allegations against board member Tay Anderson, who is accused of sexual misconduct and denies the allegation.

Anderson said he’d step away from his board duties until an independent investigation is finished, though he’ll continue to vote on key matters — and voted in favor of confirming Marrero.

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