Vail Daily column: Hiring superintendent is job No. 1 for Board of Education |

Vail Daily column: Hiring superintendent is job No. 1 for Board of Education

Kate Cocchiarella
Valley Voices

The Eagle County Schools Board of Education’s most important job is hiring the superintendent. The superintendent is the board’s only employee. We have been fortunate to have Dr. Jason Glass as our leader for the past four years. Glass has exceeded expectations in his short time here, and his shoes will be hard to fill. However, I am confident that Eagle County Schools will attract competent, capable and caring candidates for the vacancy at the top of our organization.

Step one is to hire an interim superintendent, whose charge will be to keep us on course, minimize disruption to our current team and projects and provide support during our search for a permanent superintendent. We are already reviewing resumes and will have a team leader in place for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The board will conduct a full national search for a permanent leader that will enable us to choose from the best and brightest either here in Eagle County or from around the nation. As part of this process, we will consult various stakeholder groups to establish priorities and desired qualities for the new leader. Committees will be formed to review applications and provide feedback on candidates. We will keep the community posted on the progress of this process, which will begin in early winter.

Change is good. The board and district administration embrace the opportunity to take the work we have been doing to another level. Each new leader brings with him or her opportunity to see our work and ourselves from a fresh perspective.

Throughout the past four years, the board has worked diligently with Glass and district leadership to create a comprehensive strategic plan, which is the document we are using to chart our course toward closing the achievement gap and increasing academic growth for all students. Our strategic plan, Altitude in Action, is composed of specific tactics toward improvement that are tied to measurable goals and data-driven timelines.

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We have aligned our strategic tactics to our governance policies so we can monitor policy, as well as receive relevant data and information around challenges to overcome in an efficient and effective format. Our goal is to implement systems, goals and metrics that are explicit and measurable. One of the questions we ask is, “What is the likelihood of success for your tactic if team leadership changes?” Every department is striving to create systems and processes that are transferable. We want the work we are doing to continue, regardless of changes in staffing.

The position at the top is no different. We are grateful for Glass’ guidance, vision and leadership that have brought us to a stable and organized place, and we are optimistic that our next leader will continue to move us toward our goals. The Board stands behind the district’s vision: global-ready graduates. Focus remains on our values: engaged learners, inspired professionals, a sense of adventure, a caring community and a commitment to equality.

Our mission remains unchanged: We teach the children of Eagle County to have creative and active minds, compassion for others, enthusiasm for lifelong learning and the courage to act on their dreams.

The Board of Education takes the responsibility of hiring its one employee very seriously, and we will execute this task to the best of our abilities. We are grateful to the community for the trust you have placed in our hands. Eagle County Schools will continue to be an example of what a community and its schools can accomplish with love and dedication to the task at hand.

Kate Cocchiarella is the president of the Eagle County Board of Education. She’s writing this week in place of Eagle County Schools Superintendent Jason Glass.

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