Decision forthcoming from board
After operating for more than six months without a permanent superintendent, the Gunnison REIJ School District seems poised to hire one of its own.
"I think it’s very exciting to be interviewing two candidates who have spent most of their careers in the local school district," says longtime school board member MJ Vosburg, who has just assumed the role of school board president.
The two candidates, interim superintendent Jon Nelson and Gunnison Middle School principal Doug Tredway, have combined experience of more than 40 years in the district.
Nelson has been working in the district’s finance office since 1990 and became the finance director in 1999. When past superintendent Steve Marantino resigned last spring, the board tapped Nelson to fill his shoes on an interim basis.
Since then, Nelson has held up much of the district’s financial management needs as well as the responsibilities of superintendent. "It’s been lots of extra hours," he says.
According to Nelson, the biggest challenges facing the district are needed facility upgrades and a dearth of state funding for education. "The immediate concern is the proposed bond election," Nelson says.
The school board is planning to ask district voters in November 2008 to bond for facility improvements. High on their list of priorities is possible replacement of the 43-year-old Gunnison High School and expansion at the Crested Butte Community School.
Contingency funding for schools based on state appropriations is also a huge challenge for the Gunnison RE1J School District, according to Nelson. But he says he hopes some movement toward better school funding is in the works at the state level. "There is some proposed legislation coming from Governor Ritter that sounds promising," he says.
Nelson says he is interested in staying in the position in order to give the local schools some stability. "I’d like to try to lend some consistency to the district," he says.
The district staff, Nelson says, has compelled him to try for the district’s top position. "We have a very dedicated group of employees who really have the students’ best interests in mind," he says. "It’s refreshing to work around them."
A longtime Gunnison resident, Doug Tredway has worked his way through the ranks of the Gunnison School District. Besides attending Gunnison schools from kindergarten through high school, Tredway received his master’s degree in education from Western State College.
He started teaching in Gunnison in 1983 as a physical education and industrial arts instructor before taking the position of dean of students for kindergarten though eighth grade. "It was a difficult decision to move out of the classroom to the administrative side of things, but I’ve loved every minute of it," he says.
Tredway says he feels well prepared for the challenge of district superintendent. "I think I have a set of skills that would be useful in the position," he says.
Like Nelson, Tredway says the biggest challenge facing the district is successfully bonding for school facility upgrades. "The two communities, Crested Butte and Gunnison, have to come together to solve these issues," he says.
Tredway says the Gunnison High School was already nearly 20 years old when he graduated and now it’s ready for some improvements. "Don’t get me wrong—it was in great shape then, but now we’re due for a refurbishing," he says.
Tredway isn’t sure whether the high school needs a remodeling or the district should start from scratch. "I think the community needs to weigh in on it," he says.
Other district challenges, according to Tredway, include finally getting the district back up to speed after its financial crisis about five years ago. "Honestly, some of our systems are not entirely back on-line yet," he says.
Vosburg say she’s looking forward to placing a new superintendent, given the candidates’ wealth of local experience. "We’re trying to promote from within," she says.
The candidate interviews will be conducted on Wednesday, January 16, with possible action from the board after the interviews.