School district administrator resigns

Kelly Stanford will move from education work to TIC training


— The Steamboat Springs School District's director of curriculum and instruction has resigned from her position effective Feb. 23.

In a resignation letter e-mailed to all district employees this week, Kelly Stanford cited a lack of job security and issues between the School Board and administrators as reasons for leaving her post mid-year. A copy of the letter was forwarded from a district employee to the Pilot & Today on Tuesday.

Stanford is the wife of Steamboat Pilot & Today editor Scott Stanford.

Some district leaders, particularly School Board members, have questioned the need for a director of curriculum and instruction.

"There is not a communication that there is clear long-term support for the value of this position," Kelly Stanford said.

A strained relationship between the School Board and the administrative team also affected her decision, Stanford wrote.

"Ideally, I would not pursue other job opportunities in the middle of a contract year; however, the climate established by the current School Board left me, I felt, with little choice," Stanford wrote in the resignation letter to the School Board and Superintendent Donna Howell dated Jan. 22.

She is not the first resigning district administrator to express concerns about the relationship between the School Board and the administrative team.

Ann Sims, who held Stanford's position during the 2005-06 school year, submitted a resignation letter in March 2006 that read, in part, "I have not seen this level of animosity, direct accusation, blatant disregard for authority, lack of compassion and lack of simple common courtesy displayed."

Sims, like Stanford, said she did not feel valued as an administrator.

Board member Pat Gleason said he read Stanford's resignation letter and took note of her concerns about the School Board's relationship with the administrative team.

"I believe it's a perception, and I believe it's a widely held perception," Gleason said. "Regardless of the truth, perceptions are the reality. If she believes that's a widely viewed perception in the district, we have a problem."

School Board President Denise Connelly also read Stanford's resignation earlier this week.

"Unfortunately, that was the first we had heard of her feelings," Connelly said. "I'm sure the rest of the district employees will pull together to complete the projects and work begun by Kelly. We wish her all the best in her future position."

The director of curriculum and instruction's primary responsibilities include developing curriculum for all grade levels and subject areas, administrating and overseeing the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests and district assessments, and overseeing the English Language Learners program, the Gifted and Talented program and the work of the technology department.

"I have mixed emotions," Howell said about Stanford's pending departure. "It's going to be a challenge to get the work done, but I have such respect for her as a professional and a person."

Howell said she is going to advertise the position as permanent, although the district has committed to funding the position only through 2009. Howell said she hopes the School Board will continue to see the value in the position.

"The work is important work," Howell said.

Stanford has accepted a position with The Industrial Company to work on corporate training development. It will be the first time Stanford has worked in the private sector since graduating from college, she said.

"I am very excited to get the opportunity to work in a different setting, and TIC is obviously an incredibly successful company," she said.

Stanford was Steamboat's director of curriculum and instruction for four years before she moved to Cuero, Texas, to work as the assistant superintendent for the 2005-06 school year.

She returned to Steamboat before the 2006-07 school year began and was rehired to replace Sims.


gwendolyn 10 years, 2 months ago

With Kelly at TIC, at least Scott won't be facing conflict of interest issues anymore.

Besides, Kelly was part of the team that has led the math curriculum in this district straight into the toilet and part and parcel to the high turnover in math teachers, due to her "curriculum" guidance. Furthermore, the CSAP scores have dropped, ELL in the district is in dire need of a fresh start, TAG is relatively nonexistent, and the technology department is barely peeking out of the dark ages. Not all her fault, I'm certain. Still, she wasn't able to rally the support necessary to direct appropriate change either. Not in her previous 4 years with the school district and clearly not now.

I groaned loudly upon her rehire by the school district...and wish her well at TIC. The corporate environment is where she is mostly likely better suited. The bureaucracy of a school district takes a "special" person to maneuver through it with success for all.

The position is an important one. I hope it continues to be properly funded but also would hope that it's taken seriously by the hiring staff as they look for a replacement.


eamullen 10 years, 2 months ago

My immediate thought to yesterday's article "School district administrator resigns" was, "What an obvious stunt." Are we actually to be believe that the letter of resignation from Kelly Stanford, the WIFE of the Pilot editor, just happened to be "forwarded from a district employee"? First of all, it should be widely held knowledge that any email becomes public domain, particularly one sent to all district employees. Thus, a rational and logical conclusion was this was a premeditated ploy. Now the question becomes: Was Ms. Stanford Donna Howell's puppet or muse? Are we to honestly believe one or both of them weren't trying to champion their cause through manipulative and passive aggressive means?

I cannot think of ANY circumstance where I would submit a resignation by email and/or approve of my superior forwarding that letter by email to a mass audience:unless I had ulterior motives. Traditionally, a resignation letter states the date of departure and is not a forum for grievances. There are better times and venues for that feedback; such as, PRIOR to departure, as pointed out by Denise Connelly that Kelly's feelings had not been communicated earlier.

In the past, few months, I have been fortunate to study and meet many leaders in this community. Some of their collective attributes have been: integrity, leading by example, taking responsibility for their actions, honesty, and most importantly, fostering trust. Just yesterday I heard a representative from Dale Carnegie Training speak on relationships in business. He made an excellent point that on any relationship continuum you can not have trust if you do not respect an individual first. I would submit that this is a cornerstone for the problems Donna Howell and the administrative team experiences. They have not exhibited good leadership skills, to include, gaining respect.

To publicize and distribute the resignation letter was an extremely, poor decision. I believe a true leader, wishing to gain respect and trust, would not have taken this action.


gwendolyn 10 years, 2 months ago

Small town. Everyone who cares about the school district/have kids in school here would learn about it sooner or later.

Frankly, I think the TIC opening popped up and just looked like a good opportunity to jump ship and Kelly did just that. Better job, better perks, better benefits, stability in employment, less public exposure -- who can blame her?

However, burning bridges on the way out the door via the resignation letter is never a good idea. Even if your next employer has sympathetic staff re: SS school district. And, it does.

Oh, and you're wrong about email becoming public domain once sent. Sender is still the owner, regardless of who it was sent to or where it was sent from. Covered under copyright law. Most people don't care and forward email like crazy...but doing that under just the wrong circumstances could result in a civil suit.

The next 3 weeks are probably going to be hell for Kelly. Unless, that is, she's relieved of her duties with the school district early. Which, given the nature of the burning bridge...perhaps an early vacation for her should be considered....

It's interesting to know, in the midst of all this, that the Pilot would publish forwarded email content. Was that with or without Ms. Stanford's permission or verification? With or without school district's permission or confirmation? With or without verification that the email was not altered? Or, just willy nilly because she's Scott's wife and, of course, he can confirm the content and publish whatever he wants?


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