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Spokeswoman for Jeffco Schools resigns

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By Gabrielle Porter

Jeffco Public Schools chief communications officer Lisa Pinto has submitted a letter of resignation and will be stepping down from her position effective June 19, according to the district’s superintendent.

Pinto wrote in her May 28 resignation that she is leaving the district for another job.

Pinto has been in her current position for less than six months. She was hired on at a salary of $126,678 in January by schools Superintendent Dan McMinimee. Pinto, an attorney, was previously director of communications for Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler.

McMinimee said hiring a new director could take between one and two months, but didn’t confirm that the district would begin the process of hiring a new chief communications officer — or even whether a new district-employed director would be hired.

“We’re considering what our options are moving forward,” he said.

McMinimee said the communications office typically has less work in the summer months.

Pinto oversaw the contract of public relations firm Novitas Communications to replace several staff positions left vacant in a department traditionally filled with district employees. The move drew criticism in the politically charged district, particularly from supporters of the Jefferson County Education Association.

School board member Lesley Dahlkemper questioned Pinto’s lack of public education experience when she was hired in January, and district budget discussions Tuesday — including a planned 1 percent raise for Pinto for the fall — drew more attention.

Pinto provided Evergreen Newspapers with her resignation letter. She has not yet confirmed where her new position will be.

“It has been an honor to work for you here at Jeffco Schools,” her letter to McMinimee said. “Your thoughtful leadership and commitment to public education have been an inspiration to me. The eight graduations I covered were compelling reminders that our primary mission is to create an environment where students can excel and prepare for a bright future.”