Letter: School district needs to keep moving forward | AspenTimes.com

Letter: School district needs to keep moving forward

It’s clear to nearly everyone that the transition many people had anticipated between Superintendent Diana Sirko and Assistant Superintendent Rob Stein is not happening this year. This misunderstanding, and the uncertainty it creates, is very disruptive. So how do we keep moving forward and create a more stable future?

Sirko, Stein and the other members of the leadership team each bring a unique set of skills to the table. We are fortunate to have these capable individuals working for our district. It is essential we retain key players to provide stability, continuity and effectiveness as the district vision is implemented. In our unique valley, strong employees dedicated to living here are hard to find. If we have high quality, in-house people leading the district, let’s not lose them.

Most members of the community would agree that Sirko has been an important stabilizing force over the past two years. She stepped up in a time of need, has created goodwill, a sense of trust in the district again and has built an effective, well-rounded leadership team. It is in the district’s best interest to use her talents and experience to ensure goodwill and a path that propels us into the future. Given that she will most likely be moving back into retirement within a few years, we’d be wise to think of her successor sooner rather than later.

Most of us also can agree that Stein is imminently qualified to be Sirko’s successor. He’s already been fully vetted by the community, been instrumental in the visioning process, and has the experience to implement many of the experiential education opportunities our communities are asking for. He is, therefore, a natural leader for the future of our district. I think we deserve an opportunity to see Stein in the position of superintendent. He has an inspiring vision for our schools; I want to see what he is capable of. If we wait too long, we may lose this opportunity.

A succession plan may not be binding in the future, as the board may change its composition again next fall. Regardless, it is the responsibility of this board to develop a succession plan that is thoughtful and well researched. I don’t think a good decision can be made today. A decision made in haste will most likely be revisited, especially if there is intense public opposition to what is decided. On the other hand, a strong plan with public buy-in sows the seeds for stability and continuity.

I encourage the board to create a well-articulated succession plan that helps ensure a smooth leadership transition between two very fine leaders. A solid plan must also provide enough transparency to unify our community’s stakeholders. I don’t want to loose the incredible momentum we have gained over the past two years. We need to keep moving forward.

Beth Shoemaker