Mills named top superintendent

TIM MILLS GETS a hug from his niece, Ellie Crocker, just before he is honored as superintendent of the year at the school board meeting Tuesday night at Palisade High School. Crocker just happened to be celebrating her 21st birthday on the day her uncle was honored.

District 51 Superintendent Tim Mills thought it odd when the board of education’s Tuesday night meeting was moved to Palisade High School by board President Leslie Kiesler a few weeks ago.

He didn’t know why some of his closest friends and colleagues had turned out for the meeting either. Some of those in attendance didn’t know why they were there.

So when two men with the Colorado Association of School Executives presented Mills with the 2008 Superintendent of the Year award, it was, as he said, “a complete surprise.”

Mills shook his finger at those who had deceived him while a packed cafeteria gave him a standing ovation.

“This is indeed an honor and pretty humbling,” Mills said. “What I believe this really represents is the work this community does for kids.”

John Hefty, executive director of CASE, and Bret Robinson, superintendent of the Kiowa School District, presented Mills the award and cited his responsible stewardship of public dollars and leadership at the state level in education as reasons why Mills was chosen for the award.

“There are some great superintendents,” Robinson said. “You have a great one.”

Kiesler nominated Mills for the award in the spring, and Mills underwent a lengthy and exhaustive interview process that he said the board of education had encouraged him to see through.

Kiesler said she nominated Mills because of his integrity and leadership as well as his cultivation of relationships throughout the community.

Dana Nunn, spokewoman for Mesa State College, read a congratulatory statement from college President Tim Foster that said the two entities had enjoyed several mutually beneficial relationships and that Mills had the courage to make unpopular but necessary decisions.

Mills is eligible to compete for the distinction of national superintendent of the year from the American Association of School Administrators against the superintendents who won state honors across the country.


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