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School board announces superintendent finalists

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County’s school board announced Tuesday it selected two finalists for the superintendent position.

The school board is looking for the best candidate to replace Schools Superintendent Wes Smith, who is retiring July 31. Forty-seven applicants, from 37 different states and Canada, sent completed applications for the position.

Board members interviewed five semi-finalists earlier this week, but all five names have not been released. They did, however, release the names of the two finalists: Dr. Wayne Johnson, superintendent of Manitowoc Public School District in Wisconsin, and Dr. Lynn Spampinato, regional director and superintendent of Victory Schools in Philadelphia, as their final candidates.



The school board is looking for the candidate who will “take the district forward to make it really an outstanding district” and “someone who would be a good fit for this district,” School Board Chairman Bill Pelham said.

According to Colorado law, the board cannot finalize the superintendent appointment for 14 days after the announcement of the finalists. Board members will use the next two weeks to research the final candidates further, Pelham said. Board member Garrett Sullivan left Tuesday to visit Spampinato’s district, and Pat Keehley, also on the board, will head to Wisconsin for a site visit next week.



While it’s unlikely the board will hold another round of interviews, it is possible, Pelham said.

“I won’t rule out another interview because one never knows what’ll happen in this business,” he said.

If one of the candidates was to accept another position in the next 14 days or decline Summit’s offer, the board might have to reconsider its finalist selection, Pelham said. But he doesn’t foresee that happening, as both candidates are very interested in the position.

The school board likely will hold a special meeting to vote on its chosen candidate, if board members are not already unanimous in the decision. The new superintendent would begin the position the last week of July, allowing a one-week overlap with Smith before he retires.

According to a Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association restriction, Smith is not allowed to be involved with the school district in any way for 30 days following retirement. After that, the district may hire him on a contractual basis for up to 12 days a year for the next five years. Smith could help the new superintendent with his or her transition into the position, or the board might choose to have him represent the district in Washington, D.C., if necessary.

“He’s very well-known and respected,” Pelham said of Smith.

The board will host a farewell party for Smith today and another reception, to welcome his successor, sometime in August.

Farewell to Wes Smith

– What: A public reception to say goodbye to Superintendent Wes Smith, who is retiring July 31

– When: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. today

– Where: Summit Middle School

– For more information, contact the School Administration building at (970) 668-3011


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