Search for new Re-1 superintendent begins |

Search for new Re-1 superintendent begins

John StroudPost IndependentAspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Roaring Fork District Re-1 school board will cast a wide net as it seeks applicants for the superintendent’s job, and in gathering widespread community input on the qualities people would like to see in a new superintendent.The board has retained the services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, an Illinois-based school administrator search consulting firm, at a cost of $18,500, to conduct the search over the next four months.A new superintendent is expected to be announced by June 1 and start in July, if all goes as scheduled.HYA focuses on finding the right fit for individual school districts, said Rick O’Connell, the firm’s senior associate in Colorado, at a special Re-1 school board meeting Wednesday.A member of the HYA team for the past decade, O’Connell also had an extensive career in public education administration himself, including 22 years as superintendent of Douglas County schools, south of Denver, from 1981 to 2003.The Re-1 board is seeking a replacement for Superintendent Judy Haptonstall, following a 3-2 board vote last month to end her contract at the end of the current school year.Haptonstall, who is in her fifth year as superintendent of Re-1 schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, was six months into an extended two-year contract when the decision was made. She remains as superintendent through June.The board, including three new members elected last fall who had openly questioned district leadership, decided to part ways with Haptonstall after gathering extensive input from district staff and the general public.A similar approach will be used by HYA in developing a superintendent profile for the school district. It will involve meetings with groups of Re-1 teachers, principals, district administrators, support staff, parents and students.There will also be an online survey for citizens to take part in. And the school board intends to solicit input from local elected officials, service clubs, representatives from charter and private schools, Colorado Mountain College officials and former Re-1 school board members.The HYA team will also meet one-on-one with current school board members over the next two weeks to get their input.O’Connell said the process to define the characteristics for a new superintendent covers five main areas: vision and values, instructional leadership, community engagement, communication and collaboration, and management.Meetings with district staff are to take place in mid-February. A profile report based on those meetings and community input is to be presented to the school board on March 14, followed by a six-week application process.An initial group of finalist candidates will be identified for the first round of interviews in mid-April, followed by two or three finalists to be named publicly by April 30, O’Connell explained.A final round of interviews, including additional community and staff input, is to take place between April 30 and May 2.”The board will establish how many committees it wants to have at that time, to be involved in the interviews,” O’Connell said.Once a final candidate is tentatively selected, school board members will also have the opportunity to visit the place where that person currently works, he said.”We find it’s useful for the board to go there and see where the person works and find out how they perform on the job,” O’Connell said. “We want the board to feel comfortable from that aspect.”A salary range for the new Re-1 superintendent has not been formally discussed. Haptonstall currently draws an annual salary of $146,000.The median salary for superintendents in Colorado schools districts similar in size to Re-1 is about $149,000, according to O’