Knezevich: Editorial inaccurate


The purpose of this letter is to provide clarification of the Editorial Board's view stated in the March 23, 2008, issue of the newspaper. There were many inaccurate statements and assumptions made about the meeting, its purpose and what was stated. I do not want this to become another controversy for the district and that is why I did not respond to the paper's past phone calls or requests for interviews regarding this matter. The primary focus at the high school now and always has been to provide the best education for our students.

The paper did correctly report that a staff meeting was held on Wednesday, March 19. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an accurate and factual statement of the existing situation. I began the meeting explaining, "I respect this staff too much for you to hear this information via rumor, through the newspaper, or to read it through the SSSD board minutes."

I informed the staff that I had been provided with three options regarding my employment:

1. Resignation

2. Non-renewal

3. The extension of the renewal deadline for the Board of Education to take action in the renewal or non-renewal of my contract no later than June 23, 2008.

Given the option of the extension, I would have the opportunity to improve in the areas addressed in my evaluation. I relayed to the staff that I would not be resigning and I would be talking with them and asking for feedback and suggestions on how they felt I could improve in these areas.

I did not ask people to rally behind me. I shared information from a letter that Dr. Smyser wrote to the staff: "I know that you are hearing rumors and are concerned about the status of your principal's job for next year. At Monday night's Board meeting the Board will be taking action on all principal's contracts. In order to allow for your comments, they will be starting at 5:30 and listening to comments in executive session (because this is a personnel matter). Please feel free to come if you would like to speak with them..."

I closed the meeting stating, "One of the things that I have always been very proud of our building is that through the many issues that the District has faced over the years, the high school has stayed out of the politics and have gone about our business of educating the students." I concluded by saying, "I know that this will not become a distraction and that our focus will remain what is best for our students." At that time I left the meeting.

I want to reiterate that my purpose for the meeting was to provide a factual basis to the situation from me first rather than through rumor, board minutes, and the newspaper.

Since that time I have heard of a petition that is being circulated. I have never supported the circulation of the petition or even referenced the petition, let alone rallied people to sign it. There would be no negative consequences for people who do not sign the petition. I am concerned with the education of the students at the high school, not who did or did not sign a petition that I have not endorsed.

The education of the high school students will always be the priority of the staff at Steamboat Springs High School.


Mike Knezevich

Principal, Steamboat Springs High School


townie 9 years ago

The people that want Mike to stay are obviously in the majority. The few negative people on this blog and at the school are the miniority. Last night's meeting showed that.


hmmmm 9 years ago

I don't know Noreen Moore, but this is typical of Tom Miller Freutel. He smiles to people's faces and stabs them behind the back.


BigOil 9 years ago

Brent & Company, It is sad that the dominant newspaper in our small town continues to manipulate stories about our school system and it's issues to increase your newspaper's readership and ultimately increase ad rates & profit as a result. It's a bit like the glass company who breaks widows to sell more glass. The "Our View" article regarding Mike was an absolute abuse of journalism in that it singled out a private individual, provided no facts, was completely based on heresay and offered no insight to the readers.

But you did a brilliant job of stirring the pot which keeps readership levels up which helps you sell more ads. Now you get to post & print a response letter from Mike that everyone will want to read which plays out perfectly for your business.

The problem is that these tactics take a toll on out community. Instead of striving to be a positive responsible steward of the news in our community, you are leveraging your position for profit first at the expense of accuracy and journalism of value. Over time, this erodes your credibility as a resource of community information. At the end of the day in a world of internet & 24 hour news your only value is that of Steamboat community news.


palemorningdunn 9 years ago

So Brent,

On what facts did you base the statement that Mike made an "attempt last week to rally his staff to save his job" which you scolded him as "certainly ... unprofessional." ? What facts? Did someone inside tell you that, or did you make that assumption? Did you talk to more than one person to verify anything. Seriously damaging accusation you made.

Who told you that - "Knezevich then encouraged his teachers and staff to show up at the board meeting Monday to support him."?

Do you know how stupid you sound like saying things like this - "We don't know and therefore cannot comment on how Knezevich has performed as a principal." YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF PRINCIPAL HE WAS AND YET YOU CAN MAKE ACCUSATIONS LIKE THIS? Do you see the irony?

How about this doozy - "We have heard from numerous teachers expressing their discomfort with being confronted with a petition effort to back Knezevich. If they don't sign it, they risk the scorn of the principal and his supporters. Worse yet, their jobs could be at risk if they don't back their leader. The fear of retaliation is real and understandable. By his own actions, Knezevich has put his school's staff in an extremely awkward, no-win situation." YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE HE IS CIRCULATING THE PETITION. Is that true? Or did you just guess?

Or this one - "Of course, this is exactly what Knezevich wanted - to make his job status public and incite reaction from his allies." REALLY? Are you sure? Did you ask Mike if that's what he really wanted?

Or this one - "If he wants the community to believe the fate apparently assigned to him is unjust, then he should prove why we should stand in his defense."


I think we should circulate a petition to remove this editor. What an unprofessional, baseless smear of a great community leader. Unlike those who wrote the column.


palemorningdunn 9 years ago

Noreen Moore and Tom Miller-Freutel -

What do you have to say about this? YOU wrote this vicious, baseless editorial too - as the "community representatives." We don't expect the Pilot people (editor, publisher, etc.) to answer these questions, but maybe you will. Why did you agree to such an attack?


weallnutz 9 years ago

Have to agree with other posts, seems like ya'll jumped the gun to slam a really good guy trying to do his job. Maybe in the end Mike's way of management will not be what the school district decides to keep, but it does not take away from the fact that he is an a good and honorable man doing the best he can in the interests of the kids of this community. The paper should be ashamed and owes Mike an apology, I'll be looking for it in the next, "Our Opinion" section.


River 9 years ago

I agree with what the Pilot stated in the "Our View" section. I also agree with each article written. As a teacher at the High School, I know first hand how difficult Mr. Knezevich is to work with and how real retribution is. Mike is a nice guy, but many of us feel he does not have the skill set to be the principal.

Mike, you stated above, "I know that this will not become a distraction and that our focus will remain what is best for our students." At that time I left the meeting." First, You made this a distraction by making this public and not taking the resignation and leaving quietly. Second, you left the meeting with the knowledge that certain staff would be starting the petition and they would rally and support you at the board meeting (I don't think you have ever left a staff meeting first, especially stating "I'm going to leave now" and not another person moves knowing there is more to come.

Out of a town of more than ten thousand, a high school of more than 600 (400+ families) and teachers and staff...How many came to support Mike at the board meeting...40ish? I don't see a big support there, in fact, I see very little support. One parent, a couple of teachers and one coach. The majority of us would like Mike to step down, we just can't say it in front of him, we like our jobs and relationship with other teachers.

School Board and Dr. Smyser, please take heed of all of those phone calls and e-mails.

Mike, please step down, take the resignation and leave quietly, please.


weallnutz 9 years ago

river, if you feel so strongly about getting rid of Knezevich show leadership and stand up and be counted. I'm sure retribution would be hard to put on you now that all this is so public. If the people who want Mike to leave can't even stand up and say so and use this forum to stab him in the back, then they aren't the type who's opinion should matter. You're the type teaching our kids how to be responsible adults?? What ever happend to stand up for what you believe in no matter what the consequences....way to show our kids a sleazy cowardly way to approach your issues!


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