Superintendent ad posted |

Superintendent ad posted

Mike McCollum

— The job description posted Tuesday for the Steamboat Springs School District’s open superintendent position included a list of qualifications that School Board members conceded may be tough for even the most skilled candidate to meet.

Steamboat Springs School Board member Lisa Brown said the community demands excellence and that it will take a special person to move the high-performing district forward.

“With really high expectations of superintendents in our community, there are a lot of chances for the superintendent to really shine,” she said. “They are coming into a situation where people really value education. It’s an opportunity to have someone – when they see all that we have with our core curriculum and the beautiful environment – to really shine.”

According to the superintendent application packet, the ideal candidate will promote a culture of excellence; focus on students and maintain a high expectation of achievement of 21st-century skills; value community, staff and parent input; and support technology’s role in education.

Other qualifications sought by board members include building relationships and consensus, a trait the former School Board cited as one of the reasons it bought out the contract of former Superintendent Donna Howell.

Howell’s salary was $145,229, and interim Superintendent Sandra Smyser is being paid $102,353 under her prorated contract. Her base salary is similar to Howell’s when calculated for a full work year. The district’s next superintendent will receive similar compensation, with a salary of $150,000 plus benefits, according to the advertisement.

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The application deadline is March 4, with interviews scheduled March 25 and 26. The date of employment starts July 1.

Smyser was unavailable for comment Tuesday on whether she has applied or intends to apply for the full-time position. Applications are sent directly to the Colorado Association of School Boards, which was hired by the district to assist in the superintendent search. Board members won’t know who has applied for the position until after the application deadline.

After focus group sessions last week between CASB officials and community members, former Steamboat Springs City Councilwoman Karen Post said board members will have a hard time finding a candidate that matches all of the community’s wishes.

“Given what I heard : we want the moon,” she said.

Despite the pressure put on educators from an engaged community that expects the most out of its schools, Brown noted that the next superintendent will enter a district with few hurdles to success.

“High expectations isn’t the worst pressure to have,” she said.


Superintendent candidates will be asked to answer the following questions:

– How would you build trust and establish positive relationships with your board, staff, parents and community?

– Describe how you will develop effective leadership teams.

– How will you encourage a balance between individual and school creativity and innovation with our common vision and direction for the district?

– Describe two instances where your leadership led to positive outcomes and one instance where you would have done things differently.

– In a community with a high cost of living, what would be your strategies for recruiting and retaining quality staff?