Scott Siegfried was ready to take the first steps on the road to a career in medicine.
Siegfried had received his bachelor's from the University of Colorado in biology and kinesiology, and he was prepping to take the MCATs before settling on a medical school. He was eyeing a professional path that differed from those of his parents, both of whom were lifelong educators.
A gig coaching the cross-country team at his old high school would completely and irretrievably change those plans. After returning to his alma mater and working directly with students, Siegfried realized he had inherited his parents' passion for education.
"You have one of those experiences and you know where your heart is supposed to be," Siegfried recalled. "You can't describe it. You can't put words to it. You just know it. I'm glad I had that opportunity to know early."
Siegfried went on to earn his master's degree and his teaching certificate from the University of Colorado Denver and his Ph.D from the University of Denver, all in the pursuit of a new and definite professional goal. When he landed his first student teaching job at Eaglecrest High School in 1995, he kicked off a career in the Cherry Creek School District that would span several decades, multiple schools and various administrative positions at the district level.
His district résumé includes posts as a teacher at Eaglecrest and a dean of students at Laredo Middle School. He helped open Falcon Creek Middle School as assistant principal and Liberty Middle School as principal. At the district level, he's served as Executive Director of Student Achievement Services, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services and Associate Superintendent of Educational Operations, working directly with three CCSD superintendents – Monte Moses, Mary Chesley and, most recently, Harry Bull.
"The District Leadership Team is a group of experienced educators who really want the best for kids and teachers. When I think about who's around the table, it's a group of great people who strive every day to fund, resource and set up the optimal experience for students ... Our job is to create that environment where teachers can do their absolute best for their students, where staff can do their best and function at their highest level. That's what I think our team is about."
-- CCSD Associate Superintendent Scott Siegfried
As the current Associate Superintendent, Siegfried supervises the Assistant Superintendents in charge of Educational Operations, Performance Improvement and Human Resource. It's a post that affects the entirety of the Cherry Creek School District, a massive operation that comprises more than 54,000 students, more than 3,700 teachers and 67 total schools and programs. In that role, he draws from experiences and expertise gleaned from more than two decades spent at every level of Cherry Creek's operation.
"Opening Liberty Middle School allowed us to develop an incredible culture and climate, to put some traditions in place before the building even opened," Siegfried recalled, pointing to the different demands of his posts across all levels of the district. "The experiences taught me a lot about leadership and how to work with staff to move forward."
For all of the different roles he's played in Cherry Creek Schools, however, Siegfried has found important constants during his twenty-plus years on the job.
"From day one to now, Cherry Creek has been about the people. They've made the difference at every one of my roles in the organization," Siegfried said. "People constantly strive for excellence, that's what's made us who we are … That's the one constant. Programs change, kids change, society changes and expectations change. But when you have the right people, that's all easy."
It's a truism that still applies in Siegfried's work with the rest of the District Leadership Team, a group that personifies the district's mission "to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care." As Siegfried has worked to help connect CCSD students with the demands of the future through initiatives like Cherry Creek 2021, these values have helped keep the work rooted squarely in a time-tested set of priorities.
"The DLT is a group of experienced educators who really want the best for kids and teachers. When I think about who's around the table, it's a group of great people who strive every day to fund, resource and set up the optimal experience for students," Siegfried said. "Our job is to create that environment where teachers can do their absolute best for their students, where staff can do their best and function at their highest level. That's what I think our team is about."
It's not a matter of mere theory for Siegfried, who has two children currently enrolled in the district. The spark that first ignited when he took that first job as a cross country coach persists in a very personal and immediate way.
"I've lived the experience of the district as a staff member, and as a spouse and a dad," Siegfried said. "I think that's very helpful. It gives you a very different perspective on decisions that we make at the DLT level. They're very real decisions for families and for students."