School Board, candidate negotiating

Interim superintendent could be named as early as today

— An interim superintendent for the Steamboat Springs School District could be named as early as today.

The Steamboat Springs School Board entered into contract negotiations with its top choice Wednesday. Board President Denise Connelly said she wouldn't identify the finalist until he or she accepts the position.

The School Board and a committee of district stakeholders interviewed three finalists Monday.

"I'd not like to say until we get everything nailed down," said Connelly, who noted all three applicants for the position have previous superintendent experience. "I think we are going to call, offer, see what their response is, and then negotiate. What we are trying to do is see what course of action we need to take, and then see where we end up at."

The three finalists are Dr. Sandra Smyser, 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, the regional superintendent for the school district of Philadelphia.

Smyser was a finalist in March for the Boulder Valley School District superintendent position. Harner is currently a finalist for the Florida education commissioner's job, which oversees the state's $23 billion school system.

In February, the Toledo Board of Education in Ohio approved Harner as the Toledo Public School's new superintendent. According to the Toledo Blade, Harner withdrew his name nine weeks later when contract negotiations stalled.

Smyser and Harner were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Kennedy, a Steamboat Springs resident, said he hadn't heard from the School Board as of Wednesday afternoon.

"I know they were meeting today, but I haven't heard anything yet," he said.

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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