District eyes new school chief

South Routt readies process for its superintendent search

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Some things you can't start soon enough -- like searching for a new superintendent.

The South Routt School District is on its way to finalizing a search process that eventually will lead it to hire the successor to Steve Jones, the district's superintendent, who plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2004-05 school year.

After considering its options, which included looking for a superintendent solely from within the district's staff, the School Board has requested a formal search process proposal from education consultant Janet Bohart.

As recommended by the district's administrative team, any search will include internal and external candidates and will rely on community input, Jones said Tuesday.

While much remains to be decided in terms of the specific timeline and scope of the search, Jones said community input will be essential to identifying the right candidate for South Routt.

"We have a diverse community and a lot of different opinions, and I think it's critical that the elected representatives of the community choose someone who's able to carry out their vision," Jones said.

But in the end, the School Board must hire the person whom it thinks will carry out the district's mission statement, Jones said.

A rough outline of proposed search process steps includes focus groups, identifying and prioritizing the School Board's needs and desires for a superintendent, placing state and national job advertisements, forming a third-party committee to screen candidates and determining a thorough interview process.

Jones said the district is expecting to receive Bohart's formal proposal soon, but the School Board isn't expected to take action on the proposal until its June meeting. Once the School Board takes action on a search process, Jones expects the procedure to move forward quickly.

By September, the district will be "hitting it hard," Jones said.

"They need to have the community input, and they need to know themselves what they're looking for."

Typically, the strongest candidates begin searching for new positions in February and March. By April, many of the best options will have landed jobs elsewhere, making it essential for the district to identify its top candidates by the middle of March, Jones said.

"I think if they can get someone on board about mid-March they'll have a chance with the best pool of applicants," he said.

Jones also issued strong recommendations for internal candidates such as high school Principal James Chamberlin and elementary school Principal Troy Zabel.

"I think we have a couple of very strong administrators in this district, and I think either of them could step in and be a super superintendent," he said.

Neither School Board President Hank deGanahl nor Vice President Dawn Ford could be reached for comment about the search process.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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