Our View: Steamboat superintendent search is on the right track
District right to keep search small
June 1, 2011
Steamboat Springs — A week from now, the Steamboat Springs School District will have closed the application period for potential new superintendents. And in less than three weeks the School Board plans to pick the next leader of the 2,000-student school system and finalize his or her one-year employment contract.
The five-member School Board got it right when it decided against hiring a search firm to conduct an expensive, drawn-out process to identify Shalee Cunningham's successor. By stipulating that the new superintendent will work under a one-year contract, the board also is not tying a future school board to a superintendent it might not have hired itself. Three of the current board members will be up for re-election in November should they choose to run for an additional term.
We've seen previous boards take a different approach, and it hasn't always been successful. This board's pragmatic approach, which includes an interview committee of residents, is refreshing.
We remain optimistic that the search process may even lead to an internal candidate — someone not only qualified for the job, but also with existing ties to the community and relationships within the school system.
Cunningham's last day with the district is June 30, at which point she's off to Northern California to take over as superintendent of the Novato Unified School District in Marin County. Cunningham is from nearby Napa Valley.
The School Board's goal is to have the new superintendent in place by July 1. The district began advertising the position May 17, is accepting applications until June 7, and will review them from June 8 to 10. Interviews will be conducted from June 16 to 18, and a decision should be made by the June 20 meeting.
If all goes as planned, our school system could enjoy a seamless leadership transition before the start of the 2011-12 academic year.