Former Aspen schools chief to take new job |

Former Aspen schools chief to take new job

Diana Sirko

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Diana Sirko, who was superintendent of the Aspen School District from 2003 to 2010, will step in to lead Roaring Fork School District Re-1 for the coming school year as interim superintendent.

The Re-1 school board on Thursday selected Sirko, who was one of four candidates being considered for the interim post to oversee public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt during the 2012-13 school year.

The superintendent’s position unexpectedly became vacant last week when newly hired Superintendent Rob Stein had to resign for family reasons. Stein’s wife, Mariah Dickson, suffered a head injury in a bicycle accident in Denver in early June and is facing a lengthy recovery.

“It’s rare that one can find a candidate of Diana’s stature in a search for an interim superintendent,” said Re-1 board President Matt Hamilton. “I am confident that Diana will ensure that all students are given the opportunity to excel during the 2012-13 school year.”

The board intends to begin working with consultants in January to resume its search for a new superintendent to take over in July 2013.

After serving as superintendent for the Aspen School District, Sirko worked for the Colorado Department of Education for the past two years as a deputy commissioner focused on state instruction initiatives.

She retired at the end of June after 38 years in public education. But when the call came from Re-1 to consider the interim post, the longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident said she was up to the task.

“Being a superintendent is a lifestyle, and I intend to be a presence throughout our community’s schools,” Sirko said in a prepared statement. “As a resident of this valley, I am honored to be able to support continued excellence in the Roaring Fork School District and look forward to working with the staff, parents and the community.”

Sirko has been commuting between Denver and her home in the Willits neighborhood of Basalt. Her husband, Mike, is the head coach of the Aspen High School football team.

The Sirkos have three grown children and three young grandchildren living in the Basalt area, she said.

“It’s our home, and this is a good opportunity to be a part of the community,” she said, adding that her grandmother was born and raised in Glenwood Springs and that she would often visit during school vacations while growing up.

“I also just really missed being around kids and kids activities and all the energy around what’s happening in schools every day,” she said.

Prior to serving as Aspen schools superintendent, Sirko was deputy superintendent for Colorado Springs School District 11.

Hamilton added that Sirko’s knowledge of Colorado’s educator-effectiveness law, which spells out rules for teacher evaluations, will be a huge asset as Re-1 works to implement the new law.

“Her commitment to being actively involved in all of our communities and maintaining a constant presence in our schools will build a strong foundation for continued excellence in our schools,” Hamilton said. “Diana understands the importance of listening to all stakeholders as we work to capitalize on our enormously capable teaching and leadership team’s skills.”

An official start date for Sirko has not been set, although it will likely be soon. New teachers are scheduled to report for the new school year on Aug. 15. The Re-1 board will schedule a special meeting next week to ratify a contract for Sirko.

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