Summit School District begins search for new board member, superintendent
FRISCO — It’s been a busy few weeks at the Summit School District. After contentious negotiations over the allocation of 4A funds ended with an apparent pay raise victory for support staff, district Superintendent Kerry Buhler and School Board President Bonnie Ward announced their retirements from the district within days of each other.
There was little explanation offered for the departures of two of the most powerful and respected figures in Summit County public education.
Education figures who declined to be named speculated that the 4A fund negotiations, which ended after teachers demanded that support staff get a higher raise than administration and exempt staff, had a part to play in the resignation announcements of Buhler and Ward. None of what transpired behind the scenes was made public before the Board of Education’s meeting Thursday, Jan. 30.
With little fanfare, the board accepted Ward’s resignation and proceeded to discuss how to replace Buhler as superintendent. Ward, who spent decades in public education, had tears brimming in her eyes during the proceedings.
“I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our outstanding school community and hope you know that I am especially proud of the work done each and every day educating our students to help them achieve their greatest potential,” Ward was quoted as saying in a news release from the district.
After the meeting, Buhler said that while she did see differences with new board members on “where we’re going and where we’ve been,” she said she was nonetheless “confident that the Board of Education will find an exceptional leader who will continue the important work we are doing every day to serve our students, will seek to understand our district’s unique needs, and will partner with all stakeholders and the broader community,” according to the release.
As far as replacing Ward and finding a new board member, the board has 60 days from Feb. 1 to appoint a new replacement after a vacancy was declared at the meeting Jan. 30. Anyone interested in filling the vacancy should contact Molly Speer, executive assistant to the board and superintendent, at email@example.com with a statement of interest and qualifications by Monday, Feb. 17.
The board will interview prospective candidates Thursday, March 12, at a public meeting that is scheduled to take place from 5-8 p.m. at the Summit School District administration building in Frisco. After the board votes for an appointment, the chosen applicant will administer the oath of office and become a board member at the next board meeting Thursday, March 26.
As none of the new school board members have participated in a superintendent search in the past, the board members agreed to seek guidance and direction on the search from the Colorado Association of School Boards. The process of finding and hiring a new superintendent will be explained at the board’s meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at the district administration building, 150 School Road in Frisco.
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