Hayden names Cripple Creek's Vader new superintendent

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— The Hayden School Board and School District wasted little time filling its superintendent void for the 2014-15 school year and beyond.

The Hayden School District and board conducted finalist interviews with four candidates April 4 and 5. Last Monday, President Brian Hoza and the rest of the board named Trudy Vader the replacement for resigning superintendent Mike Luppes.

Luppes announced his resignation in early January.

“We had a great process,” Hoza said. “It went really well. We had very well-qualified candidates. The interviews went great, and we had good community participation along with the schools.”

Vader has been the principal at Cripple Creek-Victor Junior-Senior High School in Teller County since 2009.

Hoza said Vader’s background in rural education as a native of Gunnison made her an ideal fit for the small Hayden community and school district.

“She appreciates the size and personal touch of Hayden,” Hoza said. “That all fit really well. She’s real collaborative. She provides the complete package.”

Luppes will stand as part-time superintendent to the district until his contract expires June 30. Hoza said Vader will be on district campuses intermittently observing and training until taking over on a full-time basis beginning July 1.

Hoza said the school board — which used community and staff committees as well as the Colorado Association of School Boards — is pleased with the different options it received from the other candidates. It also interviewed Susan Goettel, of Meeker; Eric Harting, of Castle Rock; and William Watkins, of Kodiak, Alaska.

Vader holds an education specialist degree from the University of Colorado, Denver. She also graduated from the principal licensure program at CU Denver in 2006 and holds a master’s in fine arts from Adams State College and a bachelor’s in art education from Western State College.

Hoza said the school district, school board and Vader are in contract negotiations. He expects the agreement to be finalized at Wednesday’s regular school board meeting.

The board president also praised Vader’s experience in “moving challenging districts forward,” stressing a need for positive community relations across Hayden and Routt County. He also highlighted her strong agricultural background, saying Vader “honors and acknowledges what (Hayden) does.”

“We enjoyed this process, and it was a real collaboration working together,” Hoza said. “We’re really pleased to reach a decision point and be able to look forward. We’re in good hands on that next step of the district.”

Vader could not be reached during the weekend for comment.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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