District makes hiring progress | SteamboatToday.com
Susan Cunningham

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District makes hiring progress

Most of Steamboat's teaching positions are filled

While school is out, Steamboat Springs School District officials have been working to fill most of their open teaching and staff positions.

Steamboat Springs High School had more openings than any other district school. Principal Mike Knezevich said he’s spent weekdays, some weekends and even Saturday nights since school let out finding and hiring qualified candidates.

In most cases, finding the right people has not been too tough.

“I’ve been very impressed with the candidate pool,” Knezevich said.

In the past, there typically have been one or two qualified candidates for a position, he said. But this year, there have been as many as five for some positions.

The school district is attractive to candidates for various reasons, he said, including that it is a high-achieving district that receives lots of community support.

There are only a few key positions that remain to be filled, Knezevich said. Those include an English as a Second Language aide and a sports injuries/trainer position, as well as one art position, which was offered to a candidate who declined it.

Other than those positions, the high school is close to having the staff it needs for next year, Knezevich said.

This year, the school district is using a different hiring process, in which candidates at each school are hired by the school’s principal, Superintendent Donna Howell said. Last year, an interview committee ranked the candidates and had to come to a consensus on which candidate to hire.

It makes sense for administrators to have responsibility and accountability for their hires, Howell said. And principals are better able to incorporate information in addition to what is attained through candidate interviews and resumes.

Those interview committees still play a key role in the hiring process by giving input to each principal, Howell said. Principals consider that input, along with conversations with candidate references and other information before making a final decision.

Knezevich also emphasized the importance of the interview committees, which include students, parents, teachers, staff and community members.

“I have to have all of those different viewpoints,” he said.

Also, to better evaluate candidates, the school district has added an assessment called The Gallup Organization’s TeacherInsight. The review assesses whether candidates possess the qualities of effective teachers, Howell said.

“It’s those intangible, innate characteristics that people bring to the job that you don’t often pick up in a typical interview,” Howell said. “It gives us that one extra piece of information to make sure we get the best teacher in every classroom.”