Vilas School District Prin-cipal Kelly Reed is the next superintendent of the South Routt School District.
Reed was the South Routt School Board's unanimous choice to replace retiring Superintendent Steve Jones. The board emerged from a 20-minute executive session Thursday evening to approve a one-year contract for Reed, who will be paid a base salary of $85,000.
"This board worked long and hard to make this decision," board member Tim Corrigan said. "We had really good candidates. It was not an easy decision."
Reed was selected over Soroco Middle School and High School Principal James Chamberlin, Brush Middle School Principal Ken Miller and Harding County, S.D., School District Superintendent Paige Fenton Hughes.
School Board members didn't give a specific reason for their selection of Reed, saying only that it was a difficult decision made easier by the hard work of the various committees that helped with the lengthy search process.
Reed couldn't be reached for comment late Thursday evening.
"It's the hardest thing I've done on this board, but we came to consensus," School Board President Hank deGanahl said. He thanked the application screening committee for presenting the board with four strong finalists. Corrigan said input from the parallel interview committee, which met individually with each finalist, was given great consideration by the board.
Reed, a 16-year educator, is the principal of the 105-student Vilas School District. He also oversees its 400-student online school. Vilas is in Baca County in the southeast corner of the state.
Reed 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 the superintendent post last March. The Monte Vista School Board placed Reed on administrative leave before he turned in his resignation.
In an interview last month with the Steamboat Today, Reed declined to discuss the nature of his resignation, citing only differences between him and the board.
On Thursday, School Board member AlidaLee Gingerich said Reed was open and honest with the board when they asked him about his resignation.
Reed, who the School Board reported verbally accepted its contract offer, is familiar with Routt County and has friends in the area.
"It's a beautiful area," Reed said last month. "I'm looking for a place I can spend the next 10 or 15 years."
Jones, who will retire at the end of this school year, had no involvement in the search for his successor. After Thursday's meeting, Jones said he fully supported the selection made by the School Board. He also said that he backed Chamberlin's application "110 percent" and that he thinks Chamberlin would make an excellent superintendent.
Craig education consultant Janet Bohart led the six-month search, which used community input to help identify characteristics desired in the district's next leader. Twenty-one people applied for the position. The search is expected to cost the district between $4,000 and $5,000.
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