Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School Board could hire an interim superintendent Wednesday.
Three finalists for the job interviewed Monday with the School Board, Steamboat Springs School District officials and community members.
"We are meeting Wednesday morning to discuss how everybody felt with the interviews and move forward, hopefully," School Board President Denise Connelly said Monday. "You never know if your first choice actually accepts the position, so I can't say when someone may accept. Sometimes when we interview for a teacher position the first two people don't take it once they see what the housing prices are."
The three finalists interviewed Monday were Dr. Sandra Smyzer, a former superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District in California; William Kennedy, a former superintendent in Norwich and Postdam, N.Y.; and Dr. William Harner, currently the regional superintendent for the school district of Philadelphia.
Jerry Buelter, assistant principal at Steamboat Springs Middle School, was one of 10 people including principals and assistant principals, school district directors, teachers, support staff and community members who joined a committee to help with the interim superintendent search.
"I thought they were all good candidates. They all have expertise in different areas and they all come at the position from three different backgrounds," Buelter said of the finalists. "I thought there were qualities I saw in all of them that would benefit the district, but it's a matter of finding a fit. It's an interim job, and that has something to do with why someone is selected."
Buelter added that the candidates were all aware of the contentious relationship between Howell and the School Board.
"They all did their homework and they all knew that there was a divisiveness in the district and how can they help in building trust, team work and collaboration that can help gain back the community a little bit," he said. "My concerns were more of what a principal may have, such as how they would work with (the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services) and special populations."
Buelter said all three candidates indicated they would be open to remaining as superintendent after the interim period.
"They all had reasons for seeking an interim job," he said. "They were all legitimate for doing it. One wanted to be closer to family, one wanted to get out of California and one has kind of re-energized after retirement and wants back in."
The School Board voted, 4-0, on Aug. 10 to buy out the remaining two years of former superintendent Donna Howell's contract, paying Howell $270,000 in exchange for her immediate resignation.
The interim superintendent will lead the school district until a permanent hire is made, possibly in spring 2008.
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