Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School Board once again is faced with filling a vacant board seat, but this time around, board members will have to appoint a new president as well.
Board President Rebecca Williams announced at the end of last week’s regular meeting that she is resigning from her seat, saying she needs to have more free time with her family, which includes two young children. The board is expected to accept her resignation at the June 16 meeting and officially declare the District 5 seat open at that time.
Williams was appointed president in November, and her term was set to expire in the fall of 2015.
“Basically, the time commitment involved in being a volunteer position as a member and a president is essentially no longer manageable with the time I need with my family,” Williams said Monday. “The bottom line is family. I need to put my family first. They are first priority.”
Williams estimated that in the past six months, she has spent an average of 20 hours per week on school board work, and sometimes longer as difficult scenarios arise.
She first started serving on the school board three years ago, following her tenure as a business teacher at the high school. She said Steamboat Springs High School’s graduation on Saturday made her resignation seem like a “come-full-circle" moment, given that the seniors walking the stage were her final students as a district educator.
She noted how difficult being a volunteer school board member can be, with the time commitment and weight of the decisions the panel makes numerous times a year. And oftentimes, Williams said, public perception isn’t always accurate, especially when it comes to the issue of compensation.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that this is a fully volunteer position,” Williams said.
She said she thinks she is leaving the district in a good position to replace her. The board has 60 days to fill her seat after it accepts her resignation.
Vice President Joey Andrew, who was elected to his District 2 seat in November, will act as the president following Williams' resignation, according to Colorado statutes.
Andrew said Monday he might be interested in filling the president's role permanently but was optimistic a solid pool of board member applicants could be recruited.
In her three years on the board, Williams also ran the District Accountability Committee and is the second-longest serving member, second only to Robin Crossan.
During her tenure, Williams praised the district’s curriculum development and its role in building a cohesive learning regimen for kindergarten through 12th grade students. She also lauded Superintendent Brad Meeks’ ability to push the district to new heights.
“I think Brad has come and showed us to see a bigger vision, even if it’s not the popular choice,” Williams said. “Our district is in really good hands.”
During the past several days, Williams said she has been busy contacting numerous community members she thinks could fill her seat. She’s hoping the board appoints someone who has already shown interest in the district, and she thinks the at-large election system decided by voters in November should help.
“I think we had some really good candidates come forward (last election), but my concern is I don’t see any of them at our stuff,” Williams said. “It would be ideal to have somebody who is involved in the schools and knows what the district is working on.”
And although she had nothing but praise for the district and school board, she admits the challenge lies in “taking the next step” in the district's progression as one of the top education centers in the state.
“It’s been an honor to be able to serve on the board,” Williams said. “It’s going to be hard for me to leave. I’ve really enjoyed my time."
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll