Zabel a finalist in Hayden |

Zabel a finalist in Hayden

South Routt principal among 5 candidates to replace Schafer

The Hayden School District’s search to replace recently resigned administrators could come at the expense of the South Routt School District.

South Routt Elementary School Principal Troy Zabel is one of five candidates to succeed former principal Nick Schafer, who resigned in May.

The position could include control of the middle school, too, in the wake of Hayden Middle School Principal Colleen Poole’s resignation last week.

The other candidates selected and interviewed by a committee of district stakeholders are Cheryl Lassota, Gary Kidd, Marsha Landwehr and Scott Eldred. Lassota and Landwehr are Colorado educators, while Kidd and Eldred work in other states. The committee held pubic forums with each of the five candidates.

Mike Luppes, Hayden’s interim superintendent, said the interview committee hopes to have Schafer’s replacement hired by mid-week. The interview committee’s choice of finalists is subject to Hayden School Board approval.

“We’re on an as-soon-as-possible timeline,” Luppes said Monday.

Zabel, who grew up in Hayden, graduated from Hayden High School and continues to live there with his family, declined comment on the possibility of joining his hometown district. The South Routt principal said he hasn’t determined whether the Hayden job is a good fit or if he’s ready to leave his friends and colleagues in Yampa.

“I still really, really like my job down there,” Zabel said Monday. “I don’t want anybody second-guessing what we’re doing.”

In his three years as head of South Routt Elementary School, Zabel has implemented a variety of literacy programs, and student test scores have improved dramatically since his arrival.

A job offer and acceptance from Zabel would continue the shuffling of administrators in Routt County public schools. Poole resigned last week to accept a position as director of the North Routt Community Charter School, which is part of the Steamboat Springs School District.

The Hayden School Board suspended Hayden Superintendent Scott Mader indefinitely in June as it investigates matters related to his employment. It’s unclear whether the district will retain Mader.

South Routt Superintendent Steve Jones is planning to retire at the conclusion of the 2004-05 school year, and several Steamboat Springs administrators could also retire, including Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal John DeVincentis and Steamboat Springs High School Principal Dave Schmid.

— To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail

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