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T.j. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News
Dr. David Doty, superintendent of the Canyons School District, is seen in his office in Sandy, Utah Thursday, March 18, 2010.

SANDY — Canyons School District Superintendent David Doty announced Tuesday that he is resigning from his position effective June 30.

Doty said he will lead Education Direction, a Utah-based education consulting firm.

"It has been the privilege of a lifetime to work with the dedicated parents, business leaders, mayors, legislators, teachers, staff, and school board members in this community to build this new school district," Doty told members of the board while announcing his resignation.

"Most of all it has been a blessing to advocate for the 33,000 children who attend school in Canyons School District. I love them and hope that, in some small way, I have been able to give them hope and brighten their futures."

Doty has served as superintendent since 2008, overseeing the creation of Canyons School District and its contentious split with Jordan School District. His tenure has been marked by controversy, including allegations last year that his administration used bully tactics to silence critics among district employees.

Doty's contract was renewed last June despite a petition signed by hundreds of individuals that called for an independent investigation into Doty's management of the district. The two-year contract extension, of which Doty has completed one year, included a $10,000 raise and a one-time $25,000 bonus, making him one of the highest-paid superintendents in the state.

Canyons spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook said Wednesday that some controversy and disagreement is to be expected when pushing for reform and innovation.

"I think that whenever you come in and implement change there will be some controversy. It’s the nature of change," she said. "But I think it’s also important to note that voters created (the district) for change and Dr. Doty and the board of education have delivered."

His resignation comes on the heels of a recent shakeup of the Canyons School Board leadership. In January, the inauguration of three new board members coincided with Sherril Taylor succeeding Tracy Cowdell as board president.

During Tuesday's board meeting, Taylor thanked Doty for his years of service, according to a statement released by the district.

"To take this district from (a start-up) to where it is now is nothing short of miraculous. We are thankful for that," Taylor said. "We thank your family for sharing you with us to get us where we are."

Taylor and other members of the school board did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Laura Black, executive director of the Canyons Education Association, said the association's leadership had not yet had time to meet and discuss a formal response to Doty's resignation. But she said that she hoped the board would welcome input from parents and educators in selecting a new superintendent.

"We were all surprised by the announcement," she said. "At this point we haven't pulled our board together to talk about what we hope (the selection process) will look like. I would hope that they would have community input and that they include all the stakeholders."

Doty's resignation also comes during a district-wide restructuring of grade configurations as well as bonding and building plans. Toomer-Cook said those projects, and the overall direction of the district, will continue with the appointment of a new superintendent.

"We’ll continue all of the projects that we have now uninterrupted," she said. "I didn’t hear the board say they’re looking for a complete change. I heard the board say that they are interested in continuing the direction of Canyons District."

Education Direction is a subsidiary of the Cicero Group. In a prepared statement, Cicero Group CEO Randy Shumway praised Doty for his successes at the district level and welcomed him to Education Direction.

"Under (Doty's) stewardship, Canyons School District has been a model of school reform," Shumway said. "By leading Education Direction, he will have the opportunity to translate his local successes to help students all over the country become college-ready."

Contributing: Cara Hasebi

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