Roaring Fork taps education leader to manage schools

Roaring Fork School District Re-1 School Board members are expected to approve an interim superintendent contract next week for Diana Sirko.

Board members picked Sirko as the lone finalist for the interim position for the 2012-13 school year from among four candidates.

Search firm Hazard, Young and Attea will begin looking for a permanent superintendent for the Glenwood Springs-based district in January.

Sirko most recently served as a deputy commissioner of education for the state.  Before that, she led Aspen Public Schools as superintendent for seven years.

She will replace Rob Stein as head of School District RE-1. Stein resigned this spring, two months into his term as superintendent, after his wife sustained a head injury in a bicycle accident. 

Stein stepped into the position after School Board members voted 3-2 to cancel former Roaring Fork Superintendent Judy Haptonstall’s contract after the 2011-12 school year. Haptonstall’s contract had been set to run through June 2013.

Board members voted to terminate Haptonstall in January based on her involvement in the firing of Glenwood Springs Elementary School Principal Sonya Hemmen and accusations that Haptonstall intimidated teachers.

Senior board members Richard Stettner and Bob Johnson voted to continue Haptonstall’s contract but lost the vote to board members Matt Hamilton, Daniel Biggs and Terry Lott Richardson, all of whom were elected to the board last November.

Hamilton said the board officially accepted Stein’s resignation Wednesday but began searching for his replacement immediately after Stein publicly announced his resignation July 10.

Hamilton said the board had candidates for an interim superintendent position within 24 hours of that announcement and quickly wrangled up four candidates interested in the post, including Sirko. Hamilton declined to name the other three candidates.

Hamilton said he is confident Sirko has the knowledge and involvement in the Roaring Fork community to make her a strong candidate for interim superintendent and he looks forward to “strong leadership” in the district.

“(Sirko) really offered a unique set of skills that for the transitions we’re in and for our short-term needs, fit well. She knows the community and they know her. Her appointment made sense,” he said. Hamilton said Sirko has accepted the position and her contract will be considered at a meeting,  likely on Wednesday.

He said the board and the district want to focus on quality education this year, but will also look forward to having one person at the district’s helm for awhile. “We’re hoping for a stable year and continued growth for our students and we look forward to the (superintendent) search process in January or possibly earlier,” Hamilton said.


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