What's next for D51 leadership

From the newsletter: What's next for D51 leadership
Posted on 09/21/2018

Grand Junction, CO - On Aug. 31, 2018, the District 51 Board of Education and Superintendent Ken Haptonstall agreed to a separation agreement that would end Dr. Haptonstall’s 14-month tenure with the district. 

The following Thursday, school board members selected three finalists for the position of interim superintendent – a position expected to last through June 30, 2019, for whomever the board picks to take the post. 

The district’s relationship with Dr. Haptonstall has come to an end, but the mission to engage, equip, and empower all students through the D51 Learning Model will live on. Learn more below. 

Who is in charge right now?

Assistant Superintendent Scott Cooper is serving as acting superintendent until an interim can begin work. 

When will the interim superintendent start?

School Board members will interview the three finalists for the position starting at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Basil T. Knight Center and should decide soon afterwards. 

Who are the finalists for interim superintendent?

The three finalists are:

  • Matt Diers - Mr. Diers retired from School District 51 this summer as Executive Director of School Leadership Support for High Schools and Academic Options. He previously served as the principal of Palisade High School.
  • Norman Ridder - Dr. Ridder has served as interim superintendent of Academy 20 in Colorado Springs; Joplin School District in Joplin, Missouri; and Melville Public Schools in St. Louis. He was also superintendent of Colorado Springs School District 11 and Springfield R-12 Public Schools in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Diana Sirko - Dr. Sirko currently serves as the Leadership Program Coordinator and Instructor for Colorado Mesa University's Master’s program in education leadership. She formerly worked as deputy commissioner of education for the Colorado Department of Education and was superintendent of both Roaring Fork School District and Aspen School District.

What will happen to the newly reorganized positions?

No one yet knows exactly what will happen to the administrative structure put in place over the summer, but the reason for the reorganization has not changed or lost value. After three years of design and culture building, the reorganization was designed to aid implementation of the D51 Learning Model. The model gives kids options in their education, allows them to show their learning in the ways they best express themselves, and gives them the time and the confidence to keep trying until they get it right. 

The reorganized administrative structure has five main pockets of leadership:

  • The Superintendent’s Team provides public information, keeps student and staff technology running, hires staff for the largest employer in Mesa County, works with D51’s partners, and includes the leaders of the teams below.
  • The Assistant Superintendent’s Team connects students with college and career readiness programming, student options, special education services, preschool services, athletics, and health and immunization services. This team also helps meet needs for various students, including those who are homeless, migrants, gifted/talented, or speak English as a second language.
  • The Implementation Team moves the D51 Learning Model forward with teaching and training support, innovative programming, and checks to see which programs work.
  • The Site Leadership Team supports principals, counselors, music, testing, and curriculum.
  • The Operations Team supports all schools by ensuring children are safe, fed, and go to school in buildings that are cleaned and well maintained.

When will D51 have a new superintendent?

The goal is to have a permanent superintendent in place on July 1, 2019. Board members hope to begin the work of defining their ideal candidate and searching for the perfect match as soon as possible. This process is not a quick one. Waiting until next year to hire a permanent superintendent gives the board space to not rush the process and offers a more realistic start date for a candidate who likely has a job right now that he or she intends to keep for the entire 2018-19 school year.

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