Farrell seeks Longmont job
May 10, 2002
Aspen School District Superintendent Tom Farrell is one of three finalists for a superintendent position on the Front Range.
The St. Vrain Valley School District board of directors announced Farrell’s status as a finalist at a meeting Wednesday night, a district official said. The St. Vrain district is located north of Denver in the Longmont area and has approximately 20,000 students.
Farrell could not be reached for comment. Tuesday night, he will be in Longmont, where he and the other two candidates are scheduled to attended a public question-and-answer session.
Farrell joined the Aspen School District in 1988 as principal of Aspen High School. He has been the superintendent of the 1,300-student Aspen School District since 1990. In February, the board extended Farrell’s contract. His base salary this year is $109,500, according to the district administration office.
A small group of parents who claim his communication and management styles have been a failure on several levels have been seeking Farrell’s ouster since last February. Aspen School Board chairman Augie Reno said Wednesday that Farrell continues to have the board’s unanimous support.
Farrell and his competitors for the top job at St. Vrain come from very different backgrounds and have very different views about education philosophy, according to an article published in yesterday’s edition of Longmont’s newspaper, The Daily Times-Call.
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Mary Leiker, superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools, a 9,200-student district in Michigan, wrote to the St. Vrain school board that the district needs to be “data-driven, customer-focused, expect continuous improvement (of self and other), and truly believe all kids can succeed.”
Written comments from Randall Zila, executive director of student achievement in the Thompson School District in Loveland, emphasized that it is the educators’ responsibility to close the gap between socioeconomic status and achievement, The Daily Times-Call reported. “Our belief about what kids can learn is perhaps the greatest factor affecting how much they will learn,” Zila wrote.
Farrell’s written statement to the St. Vrain school board focused on individual students, and the district’s need to recognize and cater to students’ different learning needs, the Times-Call reported. “We must be held accountable to find the good in all students, and in helping all students identify their strengths; for they all have strengths,” Farrell wrote.
Farrell’s long relationship with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was also noted in the Times-Call article. A DEA spokesperson told The Aspen Times that Farrell has a long relationship with the agency, dating back “at least 17 years.”
Attempts to reach school board members in Aspen or Longmont for comment were unsuccessful yesterday.