The Steamboat Springs School District's new director of curriculum and instruction is excited about the upcoming school year.
JoAnne Hilton-Gabeler, 59, was hired to fill the position vacated by Kelly Stanford, who resigned Feb. 23. Superintendent Donna Howell, along with the district's four Instruction Support Specialists, took over the position's most important tasks for the remainder of the school year.
Stanford and her predecessor, Ann Simms, both indicated in their resignation letters that they were frustrated by the relationship between the School Board and the district's administrative team.
Stanford is the wife of Steamboat Pilot & Today editor Scott Stanford.
Hilton-Gabeler said via e-mail Wednesday from a workshop at the University of Denver that she's aware of her predecessors' concerns, but hopes for a fresh start with the board.
"I am professionally hopeful my tenure in Steamboat RE-2 will be one of cooperation, openness and great value to the board and the district," Hilton-Gabeler said.
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 as a Second Language program, the Gifted and Talented program and the work of the technology department.
Superintendent Donna How-ell said she expects the board to grant Hilton-Gabeler a clean slate.
"All new people should come in with a clean slate, and I expect the board will grant her that," she said. "She also comes in with a wealth of knowledge and experience that will show the board how important the position is."
"She'll help move our curriculum towards completion and help support the initiatives we have in place," said Howell, who noted Hilton-Gabeler's experience will be an asset to the district's K-12 reading program and the response-to-intervention program.
"JoAnne has 20-plus years of experience in curriculum instruction, and I'm sure she'll help us meet the expectations of the board," she said.
A native of Richmond, Va., Hilton-Gabeler began her career as a teacher in North Carolina after graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., with a bachelor's in history. She also has a master's in education from Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., and she is currently working on her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Denver.
Hilton-Gabeler worked the first semester of the 2006-07 school year as the principal for the Connections Academy in Denver, which is a contract school with the Denver Public Schools, before she resigned to finish her doctorate.
Hilton-Gabeler has spent more than 30 years as an educator, having taught English and history in grades six through 12.
"This includes the gamut from 'specific risk' to Inter-national Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement," said Hilton-Gabeler, who also has held administrative positions, including parent and program liaison, principal, gifted and advanced studies district manager and executive director of instructional services.
She said what attracted her to the position in Steamboat Springs was the district's reputation as a solid performer.
"My first impressions on the Steamboat Springs School District was the strength of the teaching staff, their knowledge and dedication to their craft," said Hilton-Gabeler, who will start work Aug. 1. "The district has the benefit and capacity of those teachers, and teacher leaders, to guide their programs on a truly individual student basis."
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