Search for principals taking shape

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Applications from educators hoping to replace two retiring Steamboat Springs School District principals are beginning to trickle into the district's central office.

Assistant to the superintendent Anne Muhme said the district has received three completed applications since it began advertising for the positions Dec. 1. Two of the applications are for the principal position created by the pending retirement of Steamboat Springs High School principal Dave Schmid; the other application is for the position created by Strawberry Park Elementary School principal John DeVincentis' retirement. This is the last school year for both men.

District officials anticipate the number of applications submitted to the school system for both vacancies will increase during the coming weeks. The principal positions are being advertised in Education Week, The Denver Post and several Web-based services, Muhme said. The application deadline is Jan. 21, after which members of the district's leadership team will review all submitted applications and eliminate the names of candidates who don't match the job profiles, which were created through a series of forums with parents, students, staff and the Steamboat Springs School Board.

After paring down the list of applicants, selected candidates will be asked to complete a "principal perceiver" questionnaire. The district also will perform background and reference checks on those candidates before the leadership team selects semifinalists for each of the two positions.

In early February, district officials will train two interview teams composed of staff members, parents, administrators, students, School Board members and Superintendent Donna Howell. Semifinalist interviews are scheduled tentatively for the week of Feb. 7.

The interview teams will identify the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, and writing samples and a videotaped lesson will be used to narrow the field of candidates. Howell plans to do site visits for each finalist before offering the positions to the top candidates.

Howell said she hopes the new principals will be hired by mid-March so that the transition process can begin before the end of the school year.

DeVincentis is retiring after 21 years at Strawberry Park. DeVincentis, who, in the past, has clashed publicly with other district officials and School Board members, has led his school to an "excellent" rating from the Colorado Department of Education for three consecutive years. Schmid, in his 10th year at the high school, has led his school to an "excellent" rating the past two years and was named the 2002 Colorado High School Principal of the Year.

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