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3/16/2017 Board of education tweaks the roles of school principals
At Tuesday afternoon’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting, flesh was added to the bones of the administrative restructuring at Custer County Schools. Long accustomed to two part-time principals, one for the high school/middle school, and one for the elementary school, the district did shift this year to a full time high school principal and athletic director, and a part-time pre-kindergarten/elementary/middle school principal. Holly Anderson, who has served in the latter and preceding position, recently announced her retirement effective the end of this school year. This gave Superintendent Mark Payler and the BOE time and opportunity to reflect on administrative structures that might more efficiently suit the district’s needs and resources. Their earlier decision to enter 2017-2018 with a single PK-12 principal and an assistant principal became reality at this week’s meeting. After the BOE approved the job descriptions for both positions, Jack Christensen, current high school principal and athletic director, was then approved as the PK-12 principal, and Kristina “Krissi” Camper as the assistant principal, effective in June of this year. Camper, a native of Beulah, received her education at Adams State (BA), Walden University (MA), and University of Colorado/Colorado Springs (Principals License). She has served as teacher and administrator in Huerfano and Pueblo counties. Introduced to the Tuesday gathering by Christensen, Camper expressed her enthusiasm about coming into the district in this new position, and her anticipation of calling home the Valley she has long visited with her spouse’s family. The athletic director responsibilities have been incorporated into a new position that has been assigned, and will be confirmed with new teacher contracts: Teacher-on-Special Assignment, Activities Director/District Assessment Coordinator. This person will report to PK-12 Principal Christensen. Although not affected by the administrative changes, the other administrative office of business manager was filled with the rehire of Amy Perschbacher, who has served the district professionally through the challenges of uncertain enrollments and resources for 21 years. Presenting the new scheme, Superintendent Payler noted, “It is my, and our belief that the single principal, assistant principal and TOSA/AD/DAC positions will maintain the integrity of services to our students and family in a cost effective model, keeping in mind that during the current and past school years we have had two part-time principals retire and have had to consider all options in replacing both positions.” Although the confirmation of this major reconfiguration in administrative structure and personnel took only a handful of minutes in the hour and a quarter meeting, it reflected countless hours of study and preparation on the part of the BOE and superintendent. Dr. Terre Davis deftly led the BOE, in full attendance, through the other 20 plus agenda items, including assisting the efforts of a local initiative focused by Jessica Carter, youth librarian at West Custer Library, to establish an Early Childhood Council; approving the selection criteria for tenancy of the soon-to-be completed teacher housing project; entering into the public record the recently completed Superintendent’s evaluation summary; signing and notarizing, with a sigh of bureaucratically delayed relief, the final CDOT documentation affecting the start up of Westcliffe’s Main Street and Rosita Avenue renovations; and receiving Walter van Woudenberg’s report on the establishment of a Legacy Fund program and the composition of its founding grant committee. Conversation around the latter seemed to summarize the entire evening of deliberation, reporting, and action: the district, though small and challenged, can think big and act even bigger. The minutes of the full meeting will eventually be published on the schools’ website, custercounty schools.org. The next regularly scheduled BOE meeting, which the public is always encouraged to attend, convenes Tuesday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m. in the schools’ library. – W.A. Ewing