Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High opens search for new principal
The Roaring Fork School district is ready to begin the hiring process to replace Principal Brett Stringer, who will step down as head of Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale at the end of the school year.
The district has selected an interview panel of parents, teachers and other stakeholders, and is planning to begin the hiring proceedings soon, RFSD Superintendent Rob Stein said.
The school district put out the job posting immediately after Stringer announced his departure in April. But, before the hiring process began in earnest, Stein wanted the community to make some decisions about the direction of the school to make sure the new principal is the right fit.
“Before we engaged in a hiring process, we needed to have some restorative conversations in the community. We have some work to do in readiness before we just hire a leader,” Stein said.
The district hired an outside facilitator to meet with staff, work through disagreements and establish norms for collaboration.
“It’s fair to say that right now there’s not a consensus in the school staff, or between the staff and the community, about what kind of school it wants to be,” Stein said.
A district-wide survey of school staff conducted in March revealed Roaring Fork High School employees have a low opinion of the direction the school was taking.
Despite lower favorability in nearly every survey category compared to the other major high schools of the district, a majority of RFHS teachers still said they would recommend the school as a good place to work (60 percent), and a good place for students to learn (79 percent).
Stein acknowledged the relational struggles between the principal and staff at the school, but rather than dwell on the past he wants the community to work together with staff empathetically and constructively to move forward.
“It’s always easy to pinpoint an individual and assign blame rather than say, what are we going to do as a full team to work together better?’” Stein said.
Once district staff identifies and narrows the field of principal candidates through superintendent interviews and background checks, the committee of staff, parents and other administrators will perform interviews, according to the district’s hiring policies.
During summer months, it’s difficult to gather the necessary number of staff and parents, but Stein would rather pick the right candidate than rush the process.
“As always, if we don’t feel we have the right candidates in the pool, then we’ll keep looking,” Stein said.
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Prospective candidates for open school board seats in all three Garfield County school districts must file a written notice of intent to be a candidate and a nomination petition signed by at least 50 eligible electors who are registered to vote in the Nov. 5 election. Petitions are due Aug. 30.