The Sopris Sun

Administrators post memo on Sirko controversy

Sopris Sun Staff Report

Following a Sopris Sun guest opinion on Nov. 20 that publicized Superintendent Diana Sirko’s request to have her contract extended, the Roaring Fork School District Executive Team e-mailed the following memo to school district staff members. The Sun asked for and received a copy of the memo and prints it here in its entirety:

Dear Colleagues,

The School Board has announced that they will discuss extending the Superintendent’s contract at its Dec. 10 meeting. We realize you may be reading and hearing rumors about leadership decisions in the district. During this time of uncertainty, the executive team wants to take this opportunity to clarify some of our beliefs and commitments.

• We are excited about the work we are doing and the progress we are making as a district. We stand united as a team and proud of the work we are accomplishing as a district.

• We are committed to continuing the work we do on behalf of our students. We will not let distractions get in the way.

• All members of our team have acted with integrity and none have violated any agreements with respect to this situation.

• We trust that the Board will be judicious in the process of making the best decisions for the district.

• The Board and executive team are jointly committed to the direction established by our mission and strategic plan.

We recognize that you may have more questions right now than can be answered. Let’s all stay focused on students and their learning and continue to conduct ourselves in a way that does not divide us or disrupt our work.  

Respectfully,

The Executive Team

Jeff Gatlin

Rick Holt

Nikki Jost

Shannon Pelland

Diana Sirko

Rob Stein

•••

The issue of whether to extend Dr. Sirko’s contract first surfaced when the school district issued the following press release late in the afternoon on Nov. 19. The press release reads as follows:

The Roaring Fork School District Board of Education will discuss extending Dr. Diana Sirko’s contract as district superintendent at its Dec. 10 meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Bridges High School in Carbondale.

The board follows an open process and will consider Dr. Sirko’s request to extend her contract. There be time on the agenda and public comment is welcome. Dr. Sirko has formally requested a three- year extension.

Board President Daniel Biggs said Dr. Sirko has assembled a highly effective leadership team, including the retention of Shannon Pelland as chief financial officer and the hiring of Dr. Rob Stein as chief academic officer among others. “Together that leadership team has made remarkable progress within the district, including the visioning process and the resultant strategic plan,” said Biggs.

Although Dr. Sirko’s contract does not expire until June, the school board said it needs to consider this matter now. There is a short window, between January and March, when most superintendents are hired because of the school year calendar.

“If the board decides to allow Dr. Sirko’s contract to expire, the district would need to undertake a public selection process in early January,” said Biggs. “Until then it is premature to begin discussing other candidates for the position.”