Steamboat Springs welcomes two new districtwide hires |

Steamboat Springs welcomes two new districtwide hires

Steamboat Springs School District will start Dr. Tim Ridder and Kristen Atwood as the new director of eeaching and learning and a new director of exceptional student service this July before the 2023-24 school year.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat Springs School District will bring on two new districtwide hires this summer, a new director of teaching and learning, and a new director of exceptional student services. Both are slated to begin in July, before the start of the 2023-24 school year.

The director of teaching and learning position will be taken by Dr. Tim Ridder, who is coming over from Summit County, most recently serving as Summit High School principal. The district filled the director of exceptional student service position with a familiar face, Kristen Atwood, who is currently a special education teacher at Sleeping Giant School. 

Ridder brings 13 years of experience as a school administrator to the table and has held a principal role at Lucile Erwin Middle School in Loveland. He obtained his doctorate of education and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Northern Colorado and a bachelor’s in history from the University of Notre Dame. 

Dr. Tim Ridder
Steamboat Springs School District/courtesy photo

“I believe my role as a leader is to help others with their own improvements and ultimately mediate the thinking of the system to maximize its capacity,” Ridder said in a news release. “I am a leader who helps to work on the soul of an organization.” 

While at Summit High School, he worked to improve instructional strategies for teaching staff in addition to developing a professional development plan that balanced various district initiatives. 

Ridder is accredited with leading Summit High School through the COVID-19 pandemic all while maintaining an approximately 90% four-year graduation rate. 

“I am thrilled to have Ridder join the SSSD leadership team,” Dr. Celine Wicks, superintendent, said in a news release. “He brings a wealth of experience, skills, and passion for students and staff and will be a tremendous asset to our school community.” 

Kristen Atwood will take on her new position with 26 years of experience in education under her belt and a proven track record of developing and implementing policies and procedures that improve the quality of special education service.

Kristen Atwood
Steamboat Schools District/courtesy photo

From 2018-2021, Atwood served as the assistant director of special education for Northwest BOCES, where she worked to maintain existing systems while improving the success of the districts’ best practices. 

Atwood was also the principal of Denver Discovery School, an innovation school in Denver, where she grew the school from 100 to over 450 students and produced state-level growth scores that were the top in the district. 

“I am committed to our district and want to see us succeed on all levels,” Atwood said in a news release. “I will ensure our district is systematically meeting the needs of our diverse learners and that we offer our teachers and paraprofessionals impactful professional development opportunities that allow them to grow and inspire them to succeed. I am ready to take on this fantastic opportunity.” 

Atwood has bachelor’s in special education from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in special education and language, literacy, and culture from the University of Colorado Denver.

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