The selection of a successor to Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Rob Stein draws closer as the search moves to its next stage.
The school district board will select applicants today and begin first-round interviews Monday, the district announced with notice from two special board meetings.
Members of the Board of Education will meet today for a working session and an executive session to determine which questions will be asked in the first round of interviews and which candidates will move on to interviews. The first round of interviews will begin Monday at Colorado Mountain College in Spring Valley.
The first set of open candidates have been vetted and interviewed by consultancy firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, who will forward their recommendations on who should move on to board member interviews.
“We’re really getting into the thick of it,” said school board president Kathryn Kuhlenberg. “We’re getting to the point where we’re going to talk to the candidates and get a sense of who they are, the experiences they’ve had, and what they can offer our district.”
The need for a new superintendent is based on Stein’s decision to step down at the end of the current school year. He said in a letter to parents that he would be taking a “personal sabbatical” after difficult years leading the district during the COVID-19 pandemic. Come June, Stein will be with the district for nine years, serving as superintendent since 2016.
His announcement in January sparked a nationwide search for his replacement. Kuhlenberg said the board hopes to announce its selection for the position at its April 27 board meeting. At this point, the board and consulting firm have gathered feedback from the community on what they are looking for in the next superintendent.
On March 18, HYA and Associates released a 13-page “Leadership Profile Report” outlining the results of more than 750 surveys and nearly 250 in-person interviews with stakeholders.
Among the 10 characteristics highlighted in the report, the consulting firm recommended experience in public education, value of diversity, political acumen (but not a politician), extraordinary communication and bilingualism, which according to the report, is not required but “would be an asset”.
“The leadership profile is just (note HYA took) that they distilled into a shorter version,” Kuhlenberg said. “The board will use this input as a guide because it tells us what the community has asked for.”
The consultancy considered the feedback and recruited candidates who matched the profile, Kuhlenberg added. The position was openly listed.
She could not give details on the number of applications received, but said it was “what we expected”. Legally, she could not indicate how many applicants, if any, were local.
HYA and Associates will recommend that candidates report for board interviews today during an executive session with the board, following a working session to determine how the interviews will be conducted. Kuhlenberg said the number of candidates recommended for interviews was usually between five and seven, but had no other information.
The board hopes to announce its finalists no later than April 13 to stay on track for the April 27 announcement. Kuhlenberg said typically two to four candidates will advance to the final round.
Part of the final round, she said, is hopefully getting candidates out of the community.
“I hope finalists can come for in-person interviews the week of April 11 and can tour the facilities, meet the school [administrators]doing tours, things like that so we can get them out and be part of the community for a week so other people can come and meet them and give feedback,” Kuhlenberg said.
She added that this was one of the last opportunities for public input on the issue, with polls and study groups closed. Community members can continue to email the board directly, but with the announcement of the new superintendent selection expected within the next 30 days, time is running out.
“I told everyone, ‘Now is your time,'” Kuhlenberg said. “If we don’t hear from you now, it will be difficult to listen to complaints later. We are more than open to hear all comments.
Kuhlenberg said the council and district administration will have further communications regarding the superintendent’s search later this week.