The Denver school board Tuesday named Sharon Johnson as acting superintendent until a successor to Superintendent Irv Moskowitz is hired.

Moskowitz retires June 30. The board hopes to have a new chief by the time school starts Sept. 7.

Johnson, 54, has been with the district for 33 years as a teacher, principal and administrator. She is assistant superintendent in charge of administrative services.

Also Tuesday, the board delayed until the fall a decision on the design of a school being built at West 37th Avenue and Zuni Street. The board requested an analysis of school needs in northwest Denver before making a decision.

An advisory committee split over its recommendation, which will test the board’s desire to let neighborhoods design their schools.

A majority of the committee wants a dual language program in which students learn English and Spanish. It would also include a fine arts emphasis and a Montessori preschool and kindergarten. The program could increase achievement and offers a choice not available in the area, according to an evaluation by district officials. However, it would cost more than the school’s budget. Too few residents could afford tuition for the Montessori program, officials said. In addition, students who enter the upper grades would have trouble adjusting to the dual language approach.

Other committee members proposed a fundamental program of basic subjects, with strict discipline and lots of homework. They also asked for Spanish instruction for Spanish and English speakers and fine arts instruction.

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