RFSD names Gatlin chief operating officer
Roaring Fork School District has announced a change in its administration structure that will promote technology director Jeff Gatlin to chief operating officer.
The new role takes effect pending board approval once Gatlin’s former position, which is expected to be revised and posted this week, is filled.
The COO job will include top-level oversight of technology as well some duties currently assigned to Chief Financial Officer Shannon Pelland, including facilities and transportation.
“What we were looking for was some organizational relief for Shannon,” explained Superintendent Diana Sirko. “She has held this position for more than a decade. The district is probably twice the size it was at that time. It’s just difficult for one person to manage everything.”
Besides, she said, “Jeff is extremely talented.”
Pelland will keep her title and salary and continue to oversee finance, accounting, payroll and food services for the district.
Gatlin will not be considered an assistant superintendent as are Pelland and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein. His salary has not yet been set.
In an email to staff, Sirko defended the decision to add a COO.
“While I know that adding administrative positions is never popular, I want to share that, we have, by far, the least amount of district staff as any district of our size in the state,” she wrote.
Gatlin, 38, grew up in Monument and served as technology and operations director for Woodland Park School District before joining RFSD in 2013.
Since then, he has overseen several key planning and budgeting projects as well as an initiative to provide a Chromebook laptop for every fourth- through 12th-grade student in the district — a process that is expected to take two more years.
“We started a lot of nice things, and the idea that we can keep that momentum was part of the decision,” he explained. “This isn’t about a big overhaul for either department. This is just about making sure they have the support they need.”
Although he acknowledged it might take him a few months to get up to speed, Gatlin is confident that he’s up to the task, with a little help from a talented staff.
“We have good people,” he said. “I feel really lucky to be part of this executive team. They’re just so good at what they do.”
“I’m very honored to have the opportunity to do this. It’s an important job,” he added.
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