Montrose County School District Superintendent Stephen Schiell

Montrose County School District Superintendent Stephen Schiell, right, presents Montrose High School teacher Brian Simpson the Montrose Education Foundation Impact Award in 2017. Schiell announced his retirement in September, but he will finish out the school year. 

The Montrose County School District RE-1J has hired the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) to begin the process of finding a new superintendent to start July 1, 2019.

The Montrose School Board recently approved CASB to run the search as they are known for helping school districts in the state with a variety of services.

“Our district could do [the hiring], but it is a big project that is time consuming, and CASB provides really good services,” said Laurie Laird, administrative assistant to the Superintendent and School Board.

Laird said that the process will begin around December and focus groups will be held with staff and parents in Montrose and Olathe to present what they’re looking for to the board. Translators will also be present at the focus groups for Spanish speakers.

“CASB will then use that information to create vacancy notices that will be put all over the state and on some national website, and that will really happen in January,” said Laird. “Around February they will start to narrow down the applicants to however many they decide, usually around three to six applicants.”

Candidates will then come to Montrose for a meet and greet. Laird said that two interview groups of about seven people are created including staff, administrators, parents, community members and even students can apply to be part of the interview groups.

Candidates will then have to pass through three different groups on interview day. The board hosts one interview and then the two community groups host the other two and advise the board on who they think would make a good fit, said Laird.

“The board makes the final decision and hopefully has a selection by the end of March,” said Laird. “Typically when they hire a superintendent they already have experience and it’s a matter of changing locations. They will typically come in a couple of times to visit the district in the school year and around that time Superintendent Stephen Schiell will give them a lay of the land.”

Schiell isn’t involved in any of the interview or hiring processes, but will help transition the new superintendent once they have been hired.

“We really want our community to be involved in this process,” said Laird. “They have the opportunity to voice their concerns and what they want to see in their next superintendent.”

Emily Ayers is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.

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