Recognizing Three Leaders Resigning in June & Our Hiring Process
The Roaring Fork Schools Recognizes Three Leaders Resigning in June
The Roaring Fork Schools have had three leaders give early notice of their resignations that will take effect at the end of this school year. Sopris Elementary School Principal Kathy Whiting will be retiring, and Roaring Fork High School Principal Drew Adams and Special Education Director Kat Lange will be moving on to new roles and adventures. The Roaring Fork School District is grateful for their years of service and wants to share a few highlights to recognize these Roaring Fork School leaders.
Kathy first started teaching in Roaring Fork Schools in 1984. Before stepping into the Principal role at SES in 2010, Kathy had taught everything from business to computer programming to accounting, and was even the district’s first technology coordinator. Kathy has reimagined herself many times throughout her career as a teacher, administrator, and school leader, but the constant has been her commitment to students. According to a colleague who worked closely with Kathy for many years, the best words for Kathy are “innovator and ahead-of-the-curve.”
Drew joined the Roaring Fork Schools five years ago and has been a passionate advocate for his school throughout his tenure as RFHS Principal. Under Drew’s leadership, RFHS has shown strong performance on PARCC scores and graduation rates, while preserving a welcoming school culture, and creating a strong sense of belonging for students. He is celebrated by his staff and parents for his ability to identify resources in the community that benefit his students, including increasing clinic and mental health services, working to achieve energy independence through solar energy, and bringing in extracurricular programs and activities.
Kat joined the Roaring Fork team in 2012 and was volunteering in a Cambodian orphanage when she first interviewed via Skype for her position as Special Education Director. So as not to wake her children, she interviewed while sitting in a shower stall in the orphanage. This level of going above-and-beyond, doing what it takes, and showing courtesy and flexibility for others, has carried on through all of her work in the district. And on top of her district duties, she and her daughters have returned to Cambodia three times to work with orphans and street kids.
The Roaring Fork Schools wishes Kathy, Drew, and Kat the best of luck in their next adventure and thanks them for for giving early notice so that we can begin the work of finding new leaders to fill these roles.
Our Process for Hiring Leadership Positions
Once outgoing Principals or Directors have notified their community of their resignation or retirement, we begin advertising locally and nationwide for a replacement. The application window is usually open about a month. During this time, we reach out to as many candidates as possible and advertise through different media sources. We encourage parents, staff, and community members to help spread the word.
Staff, parent, and community involvement is critical throughout the selection process. While we are accepting applications, we gather input from staff to get a better understanding of what they are looking for in their next Principal or Director. Our selection process is designed to ensure that candidates have an opportunity to learn about a particular school and meet as many stakeholders as possible, while also giving stakeholders an opportunity to learn about the candidates’ strengths.
To begin the selection process, our Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer review applications and resumes and conduct one-on-one interviews with top candidates. After this first round, references are checked on top candidates before inviting them to visit the Roaring Fork Schools. Generally, two to five finalists are invited to participant in a series of exercises that mirror what is expected for that position. Those exercises might include a presentation to parents, a panel interview, leading a professional development session with staff, or participating in instructional rounds to give the candidates an opportunity to get to know staff and observe the talented teaching throughout the school district. Observing candidates in different exercises provides a more complete picture of a their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
If a candidate is not selected through this process, we keep searching until we find the right fit. The Roaring Fork School District is committed to hiring the right leaders.
We are currently recruiting for three leadership roles, and the anticipated timelines for each recruitment is outlined below:
Sopris Elementary School Principal: accepting applications until January 27th; selection process will occur in February, expected to select a finalist by the first of March.
Special Education Director: accepting applications until February 10th; selection process will occur in late February or early March; expected to select a finalist by mid-March.
Roaring Fork High School Principal: accepting applications until February 20th; selection process will occur in March; expected to select finalist by the end of March.