RFSD superintendent Sirko exiting after June | AspenTimes.com

RFSD superintendent Sirko exiting after June

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Diana Sirko

Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Diana Sirko has decided to leave her position at the end of June, one year ahead of schedule under an agreement worked out with the school board last year.

Sirko cited new career opportunities that may not be available in mid-2017, and of which she will now be pursuing.

“My future opportunities include executive coaching of principals and superintendents across the U.S., professional development for leadership teams, teaching graduate classes and political activism on behalf of school finance,” Sirko said.

Sirko added that she plans to remain in the Roaring Fork Valley, where she and her husband have a home in Basalt, and will likely continue to be involved in local education issues on a volunteer basis.

In particular, she said she would like to stay involved in helping develop the district’s teacher-housing program that was part of the $122 million bond issue approved by Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt voters in the fall.

“I do have a real interest in that, and whatever role the district is comfortable having me continue to play I am willing to do that,” Sirko said.

At the time Sirko’s two-year contract was negotiated in early 2015, current Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein was tapped by the school board to succeed her as the next superintendent.

Stein had been the district’s choice to become superintendent in 2012 and spent less than a month on the job before a family emergency called him away.

Sirko, the former superintendent of Aspen schools who also worked for the Colorado Department of Education, was named interim superintendent, and later that year was given a two-year contract.

Stein returned as assistant superintendent the following year. When Sirko asked for a contract extension in late 2014, the board worked out a deal that allowed Sirko to remain through the 2016-17 school year, after which Stein would become superintendent.

“The fact that Rob Stein was already selected last year as the next superintendent makes this decision much easier,” Sirko said. “I know all of our efforts will continue forward with great momentum. We have adequate time to prepare for a smooth transition.”

Longtime school board member and current board Vice President Bob Johnson acknowledged that the district has made significant strides under Sirko’s leadership, including helping develop the bond package that calls for two major Glenwood Springs school projects and facility improvements throughout the district.

“I can’t thank her enough for all the time and effort she has put into this district and for being available when we needed her,” Johnson said. “We’re fortunate to be in a position to have someone ready to step into that position, and to have a quality administrative staff to keep the district moving forward.”

Johnson said the board will need to sit down with Stein this spring to rework his contract, given Sirko’s decision to leave a year early. Stein would also presumably be the one to hire a new assistant superintendent to fill his current role.