Steamboat school board to hold special meeting Monday to consider high school principal’s contract

Special meeting comes after survey showed tensions remain in the school after facilitation efforts

The community is hoping for more action from the Steamboat school district.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editor’s note: The headline on this report has been updated to reflect that the Steamboat Springs School Board considered terminating Principal Rick Elertson’s contract through a mutual agreement between Elertson and the school board. On Monday, Dec. 19, the school board and Elertson announced they had come to a separation agreement.

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 19, to consider terminating the contract of Steamboat Springs High School Principal Rick Elertson, according to the meeting’s agenda.

The agenda for the 4:30 p.m. virtual meeting says the board will “consider and potentially approve an option for mid-year, no-cause termination” of the contract.

If the board terminates the contract, the agenda says the board will consider appointing administrators to take over day-to-day operations at the high school.

The special meeting comes after results from a staff survey presented to the board last week showed efforts to facilitate a path to ease tensions between staff and Elertson had not produced the desired results. In May, 90% of Steamboat Springs Education Association members polled said they had “no confidence” in the principal’s leadership.

After survey results were presented Monday, Dec. 12, SSEA president Kim Waldschmidt said it was time for a leadership change in the high school.

“After the amount of resources and time that has been allocated to addressing concerns with staff, parents and students at the high school, it is SSEA’s belief it is time to act in the best interests of our students and the district,” Waldschmidt said.

Elertson was hired in February 2021 after being a principal in the Boulder Valley School District. He took the role over from interim principal Dennis Alt, who had been leading the school after former principal Kevin Taulman was placed on administrative leave in May 2020.

The special meeting is being held on the first day of winter break for the district. The agenda indicates the board will take public comment.

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