Search begins for new district superintendent
With a contract offer pending, Garfield School District 16 is moving forward with its search to find a new superintendent following the news that current superintendent Ken Haptonstall will be leaving for Grand Junction District 51. While the move is not official until the contract is signed, which is expected to be completed by next Thursday, the district has opened its search for internal candidates.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and I will definitely miss the small-town community,” he said of his time with District 16. “It really feels like a family, and we’ve done a lot of really cool things to enhance kids’ learning here.”
Haptonstall will now be the superintendent of more than 22,000 students in District 51, compared to slightly more than 1,100 in District 16.
District 16, which includes four schools in Battlement Mesa and Parachute, has 180 employees, with all of whom Haptonstall developed close relationships, he said. District 51 has more than 3,000 employees in more than 40 schools.
“I’m ready for a change to a larger district to get to be in more schools,” he explained. “I’m leaving here with a lot of good memories. It was with mixed emotions that I applied to the position, but I think it is the right time for me.”
He enters the position with years of experience working for the district after serving as a teacher at East Middle School from 1994-1999 and principal at Fruita Middle School for an additional eight years.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting the board acknowledged Haptonstall’s pending departure, and with so little time to conduct a search for his replacement elected to keep the search for a new superintendent internal. Applications are now being accepted.
“I think I speak for this entire community in saying thank you very much for all of your hard work and efforts over the years here at this school district,” said Kevin Coleman, president of the Garfield County School District 16 Board of Education. “You’ve really garnered a lot of community support. This community has been very receptive to what you and your staff have accomplished. From high school down to kindergarten it seems like your staff is all on the same page.”
After a 10-day period to receive applications, the board will reconvene on May 2 to begin looking at candidates.