School board fills superintendent void |

School board fills superintendent void

Peggy Kastberg and Millie Hamner move to the helm of Summit School District in the wake of Superintendent Lynn Spampinato's termination onFriday. Hamner will serve as superintendent through the end of the next school year, and Kastberg, director of special programs, will take Hamner's place as assistant superintendent. Summit Daily/Jim Pokrandt

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit School District School Board orchestrated a brisk leadership transition in the wake of its termination of Superintendent Lynn Spampinato on Friday.

On Monday morning, the school board voted unanimously to appoint assistant superintendent Millie Hamner as interim superintendent for the remainder of this school year and all of the 2004-05 school year.

The choice will be evaluated formally next January. The board still was working out Hamner’s new salary. Her predecessor earned $140,000 a year.

“I feel honored to be considered for this opportunity,” Hamner said.

Hamner has served as assistant superintendent since July 2001. Prior to her time in Summit Schools, she worked as a teacher and an administrator in Eagle County for 23 years.

Board members agreed not to conduct a search in the short-term for a new superintendent, despite a warranty guarantee from Ray and Associates, the headhunting agency through which the board hired Spampinato.

“As a board member and a community member, I’m exhausted,” said acting school board president Kristy Johnson. “That’s a really difficult thing to put the community and the staff through a search this early.”

Board member Jon Kreamelmeyer agreed that Hamner was the best choice to fill Spampinato’s shoes.

“Often, we don’t see what we have right in front of us,” Kreamelmeyer said, citing past instances of principals who left the district to shine for the benefit of others.

Ray and Associates charged the school district $16,000 to conduct last year’s superintendent search.

The board’s contract with Ray and Associates contains a provision guaranteeing a new superintendent search at no cost to the district, except for expenses, “if the board is dissatisfied with the superintendent within two years from the date of employment.”

“I’m not sure you take this back to the same dealership for warranty work,” said board member Jay Brunvand.

Summit Schools’ director of special programs, Peggy Kastberg, will assume Hamner’s former position of assistant superintendent, and the pair will absorb Kastberg’s former responsibilities.

“Peggy and I have committed to working very hard,” Hamner said. “We are going to build on the positive changes already in place, and, with this spirit of teamwork, we’re positioned to do just that.”

Johnson emphasized the board remains committed to decisions it made during Spampinato’s tenure.

“We are absolutely still committed to excellence,” she said. “The board will continue with its own internal group work and its communication with the public. The community should expect there to be change continuing in the district.”

Board members said they still stand by their decision to implement a full-school International Baccalaureate (IB) program with an honors strand at Summit Middle School.

Many parents, teachers and administrators have worried whether recent rancor will impact public support for an upcoming mill levy and bond issue likely to appear on the November ballot.

The measures would fund an ambitious, districtwide renovation project for several schools and the continuance of the district’s maintenance and technology fund.

District staff and board members will hold three more public information forums to discuss the ballot items and address concerns and questions over the recent transition in leadership.

Hamner said the district wants to be very clear about the significant educational benefits the mill levy and the bond issue will fund.

The public meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at Silverthorne Elementary; 6 p.m. Wednesday at Breckenridge Elementary; and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14 at the Keystone Conference Center.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 x203 or

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