Search for new Summit County Schools superintendent narrowed to 2 |

Search for new Summit County Schools superintendent narrowed to 2

Summit School District board members narrowed their superintendent finalist pool to two on Thursday and decided to hold site visits before making a final decision.

Kerry Buhler, principal of Upper Blue Elementary School, and Colorado Springs’ Academy School District 20 deputy superintendent Heidi Pace were selected as individuals to be considered to fill Millie Hamner’s position. Hamner retired early, in December, to begin serving as House District 56 representative. Karen Strakbein has been the interim superintendent since January.

School board president Jon Kreamelmeyer said it was difficult to move from three candidates to one, but that’s not a bad situation.

“We should be smiling, because it could be different,” he said, emphasizing that the three candidates would all be ideal for the district.

After some discussion about making a rapid decision versus taking time to verify and confirm opinions about the candidates, board members decided on the latter – to visit the candidates’ working places first.

“This is a big purchase,” board member Margaret Carlson said. “Not doing a site visit is like buying a house on the Internet.”

Several board members felt it would give them a chance to discuss contractual arrangements, if broadly, with them.

In particular, Kreamelmeyer and board member Erin Young voiced concern that announcing a first-choice candidate without first discussing a salary range might result in the candidate rejecting the negotiations. They want to avoid the perception that the remaining candidate is the second choice.

Carlson also wanted to allow some time for community members, students, staff and parents who were involved in the interview process to provide their feedback.

“This is a big investment,” she said. “It’s the most important investment we can make.”

She also felt it would be good for board members to let their minds settle before making a decision.

“It turns out I’d like to sleep on it another couple of nights,” she said.

The goal is to contact the remaining candidates to set up site visits in the early part of next week. A final vote should come before the end of next week.

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