South Routt School District selects two new principals

Teresa Ristow
Paul McCarty has been chosen as Northwest Colorado BOCES new executive director.

— South Routt School District officials have selected new principals for the district’s elementary and secondary schools, Superintendent Darci Mohr announced this week.

Lynda McCarty, an assistant professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo and former principal will take the helm at Soroco Middle School and adjoining Soroco High School in Oak Creek, while Randy Foster, a teacher with a background in special education from Montrose, will be the new principal of South Routt Elementary in Yampa.

The two will replace secondary principal Jenifer Hufman, who is leaving the district, and elementary principal Raylene Olinger, who is returning to teaching and will be the district’s assessment coordinator.

A team of community members, parents, staff, board members and Mohr thoroughly vetted about 20 candidates for the two positions and put eight finalist through all-day interview processes last week.

“We were very pleased with the number of applicants, and we were also pleased with the quality of those applicants,” Mohr said.

Mohr said she implemented a new process for administrator hiring that involved a seven-hour day for eight total candidates for the two positions.

“I’ve developed my own way of hiring leaders for buildings,” said Mohr, who was hired as district superintendent last summer. “It’s exhaustive, but it seems to be very successful for a number of reasons.”

Candidates were subjected to a one-hour group interview, a one-hour writing project and a one-hour tour from a staff member to observe candidates’ interactions with staff and students. The candidates were also guests at a community forum attended by about 50 people.

The top two candidates for each position were then asked back the following day for final interviews before a decision was made.

“They both accepted, and I feel very good about the three of us as a team,” Mohr said.

A veteran educator and administrator, McCarty said she was impressed with the thorough interview process.

“I came out of it knowing a lot of community members and the teachers, and I’ve never been in an interview before where the mayor of the town was there,” she said.

McCarty is a current assistant professor at CSU and a previous principal of the Roncalli STEM Academy in Pueblo. She was also one of three recent finalists for Hayden School District superintendent last month.

McCarty’s husband Paul McCarty was selected in early April as the next executive director of Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Foster has enjoyed a 13-year education career, including positions as a seventh-grade teacher, a high school and middle school special education teacher and an elementary special education teacher.

Foster will move to South Routt with his wife, Katy, and young daughter.

“Katy and I are very excited about come to South Routt,” Foster said in a release from the district. “We both feel like we are inheriting an entirely new family.”

Foster and McCarty will both be compensated based on the district’s set administrative salary schedule, which pays based upon the level of education, experience and, eventually, step increases and years in the district. Foster is in the process of receiving his principal licensure and will start near the bottom of the schedule, while McCarty had more than 10 years of comparable experience, which will bring her higher on the schedule.

Both new administrators plan to live within the South Routt School District boundaries, Mohr said.

“They’re very excited to be here,” Mohr said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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