Board suspends Mader

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The Hayden School Board has suspended Superintendent Scott Mader, saying he may have violated a section of his employment contract.

In a special meeting Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to suspend Mader with pay, pending an investigation into the alleged violation. Hayden Valley Elementary School Principal Mike Luppes was named interim superintendent.

"The School Board and I are in discussions about my continued employment status, and it is not appropriate for me to comment at this point," Mader said Friday.

School Board President Kurt Frentress, too, declined to comment on the board's decision.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today requested copies of Mader's employment contract, as well as the suspension letter sent from the School Board to Mader. Frentress said, on advice of the district's attorney, that the district would not release the suspension letter.

The district has not yet responded to the requests for the other documents.

Mader has been with the district since 1998, when he was hired to replace former superintendent Bette Nickell. He came to the district with 20 years of experience and previously served as the principal of Fort Lupton High School.

He has been criticized in recent weeks after the resignation of Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer, who cited philosophical differences with Mader as one of his chief reasons for leaving the district.

At a parent forum held June 15 to address the issues surrounding Schafer's resignation, Mader came under fire from parents for micromanaging school and classroom procedures. At the same meeting, other parents defended Mader, noting his willingness to hear parents' criticisms and make changes.

At the same time, the School Board is dealing with Mader's suspension, it is in the midst of hiring Schafer's replacement. The district was accepting job applications through Friday and intended to interview candidates next week. The screening and interviewing committee -- comprised of two board members, two parents, two teachers, one principal and one student -- hopes to recommend a final candidate to the School Board on July 7.

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