South Routt names finalists

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Soroco High School and Middle School Principal James Chamberlin is one of four finalists for the South Routt School District superintendency, a consultant leading the search process said late Monday.

The principal of a tiny Colorado school district and the superintendent of the Harding County, S.D., School District also are finalists, education consultant Janet Bohart said. The name of the fourth finalist wasn't released on request from that person.

Colorado public school districts are required to release the names of superintendent finalists at least 14 days before an appointment is made. The South Routt School Board isn't expected to offer the job to its top candidate until mid-March.

Chamberlin, in his sixth year with the South Routt School District, was the school system's middle school principal for three years and its high school principal for one year. Chamberlin is in his second year as principal of the middle and high schools.

Before his arrival in Oak Creek, Chamberlin was the athletics director at Steamboat Springs High School and the dean of students and a teacher at Moffat County High School in Craig.

"I'm certainly excited by the opportunity," Chamberlin said Tuesday about being named a finalist. "My interest is a commitment to the South Routt School District."

Paige Fenton Hughes, the superintendent of the Harding County School District in Buffalo, S.D., also was named a finalist. Hughes has been with the Harding County School District the past four years, including the past two years as its superintendent. The district has an enrollment of 225 students.

Hughes, who is from a small Montana town, said she wants to remain in a rural community, which was one of the attractions of the South Routt position. Hughes said she's familiar with the Northwest Colorado area. Her husband is a high school teacher and coach.

Kelly Reed, the third finalist identified by Bohart, is the principal of the 105-student Vilas School District. He also oversees its 400-student online school.

Reed, a 16-year educator, was a classroom teacher and coach before moving into school administration. He was a high school principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent for the Monte Vista School District before resigning from his superintendent post last March. Reed was placed on administrative leave by the Monte Vista School Board before turning in his resignation.

Reed declined to discuss the nature of his resignation Tuesday, only citing differences between him and the board. Bohart said Reed was open and honest about the resignation in his application.

Reed said he's familiar with Routt County and has friends in the area. He said he's excited about the chance to become superintendent in South Routt.

"It's a beautiful area," Reed said. "I'm looking for a place I can spend the next 10 or 15 years."

Chamberlin, Hughes, Reed and the fourth, unidentified finalist will interview with South Routt School Board members and a parallel interview committee composed of teachers, parents, support staff and an administrator beginning next week. The School Board is scheduled to meet March 14 to choose its top candidate and determine how it wants to enter into contract negotiations with that individual.

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