The 27J Schools board of education approved a timeline to replace outgoing Superintendent Chris Fiedler during a Jan. 25 meeting.
Fiedler announced his plans to retire when his contract with the …
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Fiedler announced his plans to retire when his contract with the district runs out June 30, 2024. By the time he leaves, Fiedler will have been the superintendent for 13 years.
It’s fast. The board would like to appoint someone during its March 8 meeting. The deadline for candidates to submit application materials to the board is Friday, Feb. 3. The board plans to meet in executive session Feb. 8, to consider the applicants and then to name finalists.
The community gets its chance to meet with the finalists during a special meeting Wednesday, March 1. That’s followed by contract negotiations and then an appointment on March 8, according to the district's timeline.
The debate among the board was whether to stay in-house for Fiedler’s replacement or go outside. Board member President Greg Piotraschke seemed to lean local.
“I look at the program, the graduation rates. That’s a long process,” he said. “Hiring someone from California may not reflect that.”
Before the board approved the search process, district resident and former TV journalist Stacey Baca told the board it should conduct a statewide search for Fiedler’s replacement. Piotraschke said the cost for a nationwide search could run as high as $100,000.
“The qualifications you are seeking states the candidate must be a current senior 27J leader,” she told the board. “As written, the entire search process is only within 27J. I am certain there are strong internal candidates. If they are strong, we should proudly put them up against the best candidates in the state. The cream will rise to the top."
Fiedler pressed for a quick timeline because the recruiting season starts within the next 2½ months for top-level administrators.
“We have an opportunity to attract qualified candidates because of our mill-levy override,” Fiedler said. “I’m sure you will be asked about this, I have no doubt. Whatever you decide, we will do. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I know there are some qualified candidates who can step in so we won’t pause. You have to decide if this is right.”
Fiedler also pointed out a fast-track effort allows the district to plan for a transition. Former Superintendent Rod Blunck put the district’s transition plan in place before he stepped down in 2012. Blunck is a clinical associate professor in the school of education and human development at the University of Colorado-Denver.
“I credit Dr. Blunck with setting the foundation,” Fiedler said. “It’s been the highest professional honor to serve as your superintendent. I’m committed to finishing strong and to enjoying these last semesters.”
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