by Mary Menz
Ridgway resident Susan Lacy was appointed superintendent of Ridgway School District at a special session of the board of education Thursday evening.
A five-minute discussion about the three superintendent finalists kicked off the meeting that also included a presentation about the preschool Pyramid Plus program, a review of the state auditor’s report with an explanation of indicators and highlights, budgetary requests for the 2018-19 school year, a transportation and maintenance update and a fourth reading of the 2018-19 budget.
“We had amazing candidates. It was awesome,” said board vice president Heather Yeowell.
“I thought it was pretty brave of the board to do this on its own, without hiring a consultant or having [Colorado Association of School Boards] come in here to do that. That put a lot more of the search process on us and on the community and I think that turned out to be a positive,” said board president Greg Lawler.
When Lawler asked if there was a need to enter into executive session, a standing agenda item, the three other board members in attendance said no.
Colin Lacy was not in attendance. He recused himself from the search and interview process to avoid potential conflict of interest. Colin Lacy is the son of Susan Lacy.
The first action item on the agenda was the appointment of finalist Susan Lacy as new superintendent. Yeowell said, “So moved,” and Lawler said he needed a name for the appointment.
“I don’t want to do anything wrong, because the newspaper seems very concerned,” Yeowell said, drawing a laugh from Lawler. Yeowell then moved to appoint Susan Lacy.
Last week the Plaindealer printed an editorial questioning the school board’s procedure for deciding on a superintendent. The editorial pointed out that after a May 1 executive session, Lawler began negotiating a contract with one finalist; however, the board had not voted in open session on a candidate. The Colorado Sunshine Law states “formal action” cannot be taken in executive session.
All four board members voted in favor of the motion; none opposed.
The second action item was a Resolution Appointing a Finalist as Superintendent of Ridgway School District R-2, which also passed unanimously by the four board members in attendance.
Audience member and local resident Pat Willits supported the appointment, saying, “I’m thrilled. My kids are gone, but I’m a taxpayer and I still care about this school district. You guys did the right thing.”
On May 1 the board interviewed three finalists for the position after an 11-member stakeholder group including the elementary and secondary school principals, teachers, students, parents and other school staff interviewed the applicants on April 30.
There were eight applicants for the position.