n a 3-2 vote the RE-1 School board voted Feb. 24 not to renew the contract for the superintendent, Sue Holmes. “It was a standing-room only affair full of Ms. Holmes’ supporters, many of whom testified in her support,” said Teller County commissioner Marc Dettenrieder in a report to the commissioners Feb. 27. “They shared many compelling stories of her successes as a superintendent over the past nearly eight years.”
There were no calls that evening for Holmes’ removal, Dettenrieder said. “In the end, I was disappointed to see that the school board voted 3-2 not to renew her contract,” he said. “Under Ms. Holmes’ tenure great strides have been made; the district and the community will certainly miss her leadership, involvement and vision for this district.”
The board voted in executive session and announced the results after the session.
Tim Braun, president of the board, and Lourdes Monger voted to renew Holmes’ contract while Don Daniel, Dennis Jones and Tana Rice voted to deny renewal. In a call to Braun, he declined to comment as the vote was taken during executive session, he said.
However, former school board member, Karen Casey-Svetich, is not constrained by legislative rules. “I know that Sue will land on her feet; she’s a brilliant leader. My big worry is for the kids,” said Casey-Svetich, former member of the school board.
Holmes is one of three leaving the district next year; Jean Olmstead is retiring as the business manager and Trudy Vader, principal of the high school, resigned last week.
“I am so disappointed that people in leadership’s position either aren’t using their leadership skills or are unwilling to get the skills,” she said. “With a pretty new whole board, it would be really important for them to come in, and if they had concerns, sit back for a year as a group and gather information.”
In her tenure as the superintendent, Holmes changed the culture of the school, Casey-Svetich said. “The kids were expected to behave,” she said. “And the kids responded to that.”
The decision was uninformed, Casey-Svetich said. “In my opinion it wasn’t well thought out,” she added. “It’s such a deep disappointment. I think you expect more of our community leaders.”