2 Roaring Fork principals to depart after school year | PostIndependent.com

2 Roaring Fork principals to depart after school year

Tyler Miernicki, center, and fellow first graders tell Sopris Elementary Principal Kathy Whiting what they are learning about sound waves in Stephanie Dungan's first grade science class.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Two popular Roaring Fork School District principals have announced that they will be leaving at the end of the current school year.

Kathy Whiting, principal at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs for the past six years, and Drew Adams, principal at Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High School for five years, both informed parents, students and district officials recently that they will not be returning for the 2017-18 school year.

For Whiting, it’s retirement after 37 years in public education, including 33 with Roaring Fork Schools as a teacher and building administrator.

“Working in education has been a way of life, a calling, not just a job,” Whiting wrote to Sopris parents before the holiday break.

“Since joining the Sopris team six years ago, we’ve done a lot of great work together that we can be proud of,” she said, adding that she looks forward to seeing the school’s new playground project through to completion this spring.

In addition to her six years at Sopris, Whiting was an assistant principal at Basalt Elementary School, taught high school reading and was the Glenwood Springs High School girls golf coach.

Adams said in an email message to RFHS parents and students on Wednesday that he is leaving after this school year to pursue other options in the education field, possibly leading an international school abroad in South America or Europe.

Adams said that he and his wife, Jen, had considered teaching abroad before he took the Carbondale job.

“We instead decided that RFHS and Carbondale were the right fit at that time, and have immensely enjoyed the last five years here,” Adams wrote. “I am truly privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside our amazing staff and students.”

His other option is to return to a school leadership position on the Front Range, where he was an administrator in Boulder before coming to Carbondale and where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies.

Among the accomplishments at RFHS during Adams’ tenure were the development of the school-based health clinic, the addition of a mental health clinician, broadening of the school’s advanced placement options and installation of the school’s solar array.

Roaring Fork Schools Superintendent Rob Stein praised the work of both Adams and Whiting, and thanked them for giving adequate notice to be able to find new leaders for the two schools.

In addition, the district’s longtime special education director, Kat Lange, recently announced that she, too, will be leaving after this school year.

Staff, parent and community involvement is important in the process to replace any administrative positions that come open in the district, Stein said.

“Our selection process is designed to ensure that candidates have an opportunity to learn about a particular school and meet as many stakeholders as possible, while also giving them an opportunity to learn about the candidate’s strengths,” Stein said.

Stein said he and the district’s chief academic officer, Rick Holt, will review applications and resumes and conduct initial online interviews with the top candidates. Typically, three to five finalists will be invited for local interviews, including opportunities to meet with staff, parents and others in the community, he said.

“Observing candidates in different exercises provides a more complete picture of a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities,” Stein said. “If a candidate is not selected through this process, we keep searching until we find the right fit.”

All three positions are being advertised. Application deadlines are Jan. 27 for the Sopris Elementary position, Feb. 10 for the special education director, and Feb. 20 for the RFHS position. The district expects to select finalists for the positions sometime in March.

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