Telluride School Superintendent Petition
Concerning the Telluride School District Superintendent Search: We, the undersigned, affirm that: • We are parents, teachers and citizens of the Telluride community. • We care deeply about our school district, our students’ success, and the school district’s central role in the long-term viability of the Telluride region as a place to live, work, raise a family, and fully participate in meaningful community life. We therefore, are necessarily concerned with the process and the final outcome of the decision to hire a new superintendent, upon the planned retirement of Mary Rubadeau. Inasmuch as there are two looming, pertinent, and material factors: • For 2011/2012, the Telluride School District will be required to implement budget cuts related to a reduction in state funding. These cuts are likely to be $500,000 , but could be as high as $670,000. • We are seeking a replacement for our current superintendent. In addition, we are seeking a replacement for Alex Carter, our high school principal, who has resigned as of the end of the school year. Thus, our very successful and well-regarded school district will have to contend with at least two major issues in the 2011-2012 school year: (1) A severe budget cut necessitating hard decisions that are sure to affect our students, teachers and programs across the board, and (2) a transition in two of our highest levels of leadership – that of superintendent and high school principal. Given the above, we think it is imperative that the Telluride School Board consider their decision to hire a new superintendent with the following considerations in mind: 1) The superintendent hiring decision must be made in light of fiscal considerations. We believe it is important to direct budget cuts to areas that have the least impact upon the quality of our children’s education. While a hiring decision should not be strictly based upon financial concerns, it is prudent and our fiduciary responsibility to select a candidate with cost firmly in mind. 2) Our district is in the position of needing to hire both a superintendent and a new high school principal for the coming year. Given the importance of these two positions, it is critical to select a superintendent candidate who contributes to the overall stability of our educational program. 3) Our school district has achieved success because we have high standards for our students, our teachers and our administrators. Any candidate hired should meet these high standards of competence and have proven qualifications for the job. Thus, hiring someone who has upper level administrative experience as a principal or superintendent is critical. 4) Again, considering the expected budget cuts: it is important to hire someone who has a good understanding of our district so that wise decisions can be made regarding financial cutbacks. And, finally, 5) It is critical to hire someone who is a good long-term fit for Telluride. It makes little sense to allow the superintendent position to become a “revolving door”. If the Board cannot affirm that their proposed choice for superintendent meets each of these criteria, then we advocate rethinking the options. The school board has narrowed their search to three outside candidates. The question is, would any of these three candidates meet all of the above criteria? If not, a very good alternative choice is potentially available to us: Steve Smith, current principal of Telluride’s Intermediate and Middle Schools meets all of the above requirements. • Hiring Steve as superintendent would be cost effective. There would be no moving expenses involved and he might be willing to consider serving us both as a principal and as a superintendent. • Steve, with his 11 years of experience in the district, would contribute to its overall stability in this time of transition and funding reduction. • Steve has proven himself to be a competent principal and administrator. Among its other accomplishments, the Telluride Middle School was recently awarded the prestigious "Colorado State Board of Education 2010 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award for Outstanding Performance" under Steve’s leadership. • Steve understands our district very well and would be an asset as we try to minimize the impact to students as we cut costs. And, finally, • Over the 11 years that Steve and his family have lived in Telluride, he has clearly demonstrated his devotion to Telluride and his commitment to making his life in our community. At this late hour, with a critical decision imminent, we respectfully request the Telluride School Board to seriously consider asking Steve Smith if he would be willing to assume the position of superintendent beginning June 30, 2011. The future is at best, uncertain, but with Steve’s leadership, we can be assured that we have selected our best candidate from among those who are currently available. We must set aside all personal and subordinate differences and do what is best for our students, our school system, and ultimately, our community.