School staff, parents are involved in hiring new principals for Howbert and Jackson

       District 11 needs to replace principals at two Westside elementaries after this school year, and staff and parents at both Howbert and Jackson are allowed to be part of the process.
       Retiring from District 11 this month is Anne Dancy after 21 years at Jackson. Gail Smartt, who has been at Howbert for two years, will serve a “transition year” as assistant principal at Wilson Elemen-tary before retiring at the end of 20011-12. Both had held previous positions in D-11.
       Pat Ring of District 11 Human Resources (HR) said that at times the district has filled such vacancies by simply moving an existing principal from one school to another; however, Superintendent Nick Gledich has directed that, this time, “for these particular schools, there will be a full-blown hiring process.”
       That includes posting the jobs for three weeks (starting last week) on the websites of District 11, the Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Association of School Executives.
       Those postings represent the first part of the school input. Above HR's generic job description of a principal's job duties and expected qualifications for both schools, committees for Howbert and Jackson were allowed to write up individualized school descriptions.
       Howbert's describes itself as a “small, top-quality neighborhood school,” which earned it a state designation as a John Irwin School of Excellence. It also has a “superior staff” and a “highly active” PTA, the write-up states.
       Jackson's description refers to its focus on “state-of-the-art technology” and “excellent art enrichment for every student,” as well as options for on-site daycare and full-day kindergarten and a “strong network of support from staff, parents and community.”
       HR staff will decide if the state website postings are attracting enough viable candidates; if not, a more national search will ensue (although out-of-state hopefuls could of course go online to view the local/state listings and submit applications), Ring pointed out.
       In any case, after the three week posting, HR will do an initial filtering to see who fits the listed qualifications and pass background checks. Those applicants will then be interviewed by a committee containing one person each who represent D-11 teachers, paraprofessionals, HR and matters of school diversity. Up to 20 people have been known to be interviewed this way for a single D-11 job, Ring said.
       Another round of interviews, for those who remain in the running for either the Howbert or Jackson job, will find them answering questions from the district's three directors of K-12 schools. After that, the prospective principals for each school who still appear viable - there is no certain number for how many that might be -will be interviewed by a committee of parents and teachers. “They will have gotten together beforehand, to decide what kind of principal they would like,” Ring said.
       The school committee inputs from Howbert and Jackson will go to Gledich, who will make his recommendations to the Board of Education. The board in turn will make the final decision, probably in June, according to Ring.
       The plan is for the new principal hires at Howbert and Jackson to be on board in time for the 2011-12 school year, starting in August.

Westside Pioneer article