Vail Daily column: Glass: ‘This place will always speak to me’
Many of you already know that I was announced as the sole finalist for the Superintendency with Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado. This means that I am currently negotiating a new contract with that school district and upon approval from the Jeffco Board of Education, I will transition to that role and resign from my post with Eagle County Schools.
These transitions are never easy, and some may feel surprised or even hurt by this news. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank those who have made my tenure here so successful and to explain the “why” behind my decision.
First, let me say that being Eagle County’s superintendent has been a wonderful professional honor. Eagle County Schools is a progressive, courageous and forward-thinking organization and a great place to live and work. It is the kind of place where we can toss out innovative ideas and instead of being shot down or dismissed, they are embraced. This sort of entrepreneurial spirit and “can-do” attitude in this district is rarely present in government organizations. The “spirit of adventure” is a core organizational value for Eagle County Schools, and this organization lives by that every day.
I also wish to express my deepest gratitude to the Eagle County Schools Board of Education, both past and present members. Having seven bosses (as I do) may not seem like the easiest thing to manage, but the Eagle County Board approaches their role with professionalism and care. They have been incredibly supportive of me throughout my entire tenure here, and I could not have asked for a more caring and committed group of people to serve. I counted my blessings every day for having people of such high quality serving on the Board of Education.
I also wish to thank the employees working for the district. Not a day goes by that your commitment, professionalism and sacrifice on behalf of the community’s children go unnoticed and inspire me to work harder and do more for these schools and kids. I can’t say enough how grateful I am to the voters of Eagle County for passing ballot question 3A, which has made a tremendous difference in allowing our employees to make a life in this wonderful community.
Thanks, also, to the students and families of Eagle County. You continuously pushed for better services and greater quality, and in turn, this compelled the district and all our schools to keep improving and growing. I’ve been so proud to watch our graduates leave our schools and then hear their stories of the positive impact they are having both near and far.
Sarah (my wife) and I have had the privilege of making Eagle County home for a total of almost eight years now. We’ve been proud to call this home. We are so thankful for the wonderful education and care our children received at Red Hill Elementary and thankful for our neighbors and friends who made this a great place to live and raise our family.
Looking ahead, Eagle County is in a very good place and on a trajectory to meet the community’s ambitious goal of being a globally competitive school organization. After a period of decline, we have stabilized and grown enrollment. Next year, we will have expanded language programming so that every child in Eagle County will have the opportunity to graduate multi-lingual.
We have redesigned the curriculum to create authentic and meaningful experiences for students. We have changed our approach to the teaching profession, emphasizing a professional model, which has cut our attrition by nearly half while doubling our applicants. And, we’ve established customized pathways through high school for students into the workforce or college.
Still, there is much to do. Our assessment results at the high school and middle school level are very strong, though we still have work to do at elementary. And, though we’ve made progress creating fail-safe systems where every student is monitored for progress continuously, we must keep our focus on this to really develop a system tailored to each student.
I would be remiss if I also did not again thank the voters and taxpayers for 3A and 3B. Together, they put this district into a completely different orbit in terms of finance and school-building quality. They will also allow us to do even more in terms of instruction, raising the teaching profession, putting quality electronic devices into our kid’s hands and transforming our learning facilities for the future. Huge credit goes to the Education Foundation of Eagle County and everyone who was involved in the successful 3A/3B campaign. What a tremendous force for good.
I will still be on the job here in Eagle County for the next couple of months, making sure the district’s budget for next year is set in place and the schools are ready for the 2017-18 school year. After that, I expect to visit Eagle County often. This place will always speak to me and will never be far from my thoughts.
Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.