Steamboat School Board approves contract for Meeks

District’s next superintendent expected to start July 15

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Bradley Meeks

— The Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday night unanimously approved a contract offer for Dr. Bradley Meeks, who is expected to start as the district superintendent July 15.

Meeks will arrive in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon to sign the contract and will spend the rest of this week meeting with district staff members.

Meeks will make $158,654 as superintendent, and his contract will expire June 30, 2012, unless it is extended for another year by the School Board before Feb. 1.

“I’m very pleased the board has offered me the contract, and I’m excited to sign it,” Meeks said. “I’m anxious to become part of the Steamboat Springs School District.”

He said he will spend his week in Steamboat looking for housing and getting better acquainted with the district and its staff.

The contract approval follows a week of negotiations between the board and Meeks, who is leaving the Farmington Area Public School District in Minnesota. Meeks served as superintendent for the 6,400-student district near Minneapolis for seven years before resigning in February because of differences of opinion with members of the Farmington School Board. In Farmington, he oversaw the implementation of a $111.8 million bond package that was used to construct a new high school and elementary school.

After approving Meeks’ contract, the board named district Finance Director Dale Mellor interim superintendent until Meeks starts.

“I think that the community and district staff will appreciate that we have someone ready to step in so quickly,” board member Brian Kelly said. “I’m excited for (Meeks) to become a member of our community.”

Kelly spearheaded the search for Steamboat’s next superintendent with board member Denise Connelly. They said it was the first time the district did not hire a search firm to find candidates for the position, and board President Robin Crossan thanked Kelly and Connelly for their efforts, saying they had saved the district at least $10,000.

“Your hard work and energy has been totally appreciated by all members of our community,” Crossan said.

The board unanimously approved Meeks for the position after board members, district staff, parents and teachers interviewed four finalists for the position earlier this month at The Steamboat Grand. The board took only 10 minutes at their past meeting to select Meeks as their top candidate over runner-up Lance Villers, the superintendent of Custer County Public School District in Westcliffe.

Board members cited Meeks’ confidence, familiarity with school finance and alternate education programs, and his experience leading small and large school districts as reasons why he was selected for the job.

At the end of the meeting, School Board members also expressed thanks to Superintendent Shalee Cunningham, who will be introducing Meeks to district staff members before she leaves next week to begin her new job as superintendent of the Navato United School district in Marin County, Calif.

“It was an absolute pleasure working with her and watching the district continue to move forward,” Crossan said.

— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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