Home > District Meeting Updates, Informational > D-38 Interviews with Superintendent Candidates – Highlights

D-38 Interviews with Superintendent Candidates – Highlights

March 5, 2011

On February 17, 2011, the D38 School Board announced the selection of Mr. John Borman as the new D38 Superintendent of Schools. He will be the District’s fifth Superintendent since July 2003.

To facilitate the Superintendent search, the School Board hired Mr. Bob Cito of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) for approximately $15,000. This post is intended to share public information regarding the process and final 3 (of 23) candidates that applied for the position.

Excerpt from the brochure, “Announcement of Vacancy Superintendent of Schools Lewis-Palmer School District #38 Monument, Colorado“:

The board of education has determined the following qualities to be essential to the success of their future superintendent.
• Broad experience in PK-12 education
• Strong business, financial and instructional skills
• Excellent listening and communication skills
• An open, approachable and collaborative leadership style
• A focus on student achievement while meeting needs of all students
• The ability to build strong relationships
• Effective problem solving skills
• Values staff and community input
• Maintains high visibility in schools and community
• A belief in “servant leadership”

The board of education is offering a salary of $145,000.

On Saturday, February 12, 2011, the D38 School Board interviewed the 3 finalists for the position of D38 Superintendent. These highlights are extracted from an audio recording and notes provided by a member of the public, present during the interview.

Full highlights of the interview conducted with Mr. Mark Payler, Superintendent, Weld County RE-8 Weld: D38 BOE Superintendent Interviews #1 MARK PAYLER – Word-1

Full highlights from interviews with Mr. John Borman and Dr. Kevin Hahn will be added to this post as they are completed.

Excerpt from Mr. Payler’s interview highlights:

BOARD MEMBER: What experience in your professional educational career has the most potential to insure your success as a superintendent in this district?

MR.PAYLER: I am a non-traditional Superintendent. I taught for 17 years and I was in business. I ran a business. My main client base was from coast to coast in both California and New York. I worked out of my office on Broadway right across from the World Trade Center. I think the trait that served me well is: “Education as a Business.” We need to treat it like a business. We’ve got revenue and we’ve got expenditures and we need to balance those. Now the difference between business & education and business in a business environment is it is not all about profit. Any profit we have would be reserves. Those reserve funds are used to offset any circumstances down the road, so we don’t have to do any dramatic things. It is exactly the place we are at today. But also in my business I need to be in tune with the academics because we are not creating widgets, we are forming our future. So when I first came into a Superintendency, both in Wray, CO, and in Ft. Lupton, probably my greatest emphasis was curriculum instruction. I forge relationships with folks. I think we need to look at it as a business number one, but I think a Superintendency, in my experience has been about relationships. More than anything else, we need to forge relationships with not only our teachers, the classified staff, and our parents, but with our community as a whole. We have to forge those relationships. You can call Ft. Lupton and there are people very sad right now. They wish me well, but they hope I don’t get this position because I have formed those relationships with the business community, with our parents, with the community as a whole. And that is what this position is all about. That is the only way they can build trust and that is not easy. When the new Superintendent first comes in, we are an unknown commodity. I have to “walk the talk”. I have core values that I live by, and I won’t deviate from those core values. You kinda need to know that! I need to know where the community is coming from. I think if we look at it as a business it is not all about money, it is about people. We are a people business and there is no better business.

Excerpt from Mr. Borman’s interview:

BOARD MEMBER: What experience in your professional educational career has the most potential to insure your success as a superintendent of our district?

MR. BORMAN: I’m going to describe two events. In my last two positions I came into challenging and difficult situations. When I was in Greeley, I had an Assistant Principal at Greeley Central HS. After one year he got fired. The District was just in chaos. During that time, the Superintendent came to visit me about my intentions and asked me to consider taking over, not for that year, but for the following year. At the same time I got a lot feedback from teachers wanting to put their name on a letter asking for the ouster of the Superintendent. I took the time to visit with each one to find out what was going on there and realized that all that had been in the news for a year was negative. We were able to turn the culture around almost immediately by putting together a series of events. We did some things really well that nobody knew about. We had a cable channel there. And so we worked hard……invented a few traditions around excellence and anything we could do that was positive. We were able to turn around the perception in a hurry in terms of what that school was all about.
When I got here, as I’ve mentioned, at LPHS with 2000 students and 125 staff members, the beginnings of a new school, you built Palmer Ridge, it caused quite a stir in the community. Obviously pretty (unprecedented) for a school that had been growing, now significant changes were going to occur and now the new guy has to figure out quickly how to best lead that. And for me it was much of the same procedure, it was taking the time to, as quickly as I could, sit with people, hear the story, get an idea of the culture, find out what are the traditions, what are the things we are preserving as we do this. Make sure people feel heard in terms of their fears, in terms of their concern and then keep people focused on student achievement. For 3 years we went from 2000 students to 900, 125 teachers to (45) and we’ve had some of our best scores we’ve ever had. The first year there was a core group of people who very much wanted to be a part of Palmer Ridge High School and they went. The second year, another piece of transition is that they grew into their junior year. It was for the most part people who wanted to be part of……..Last year that wasn’t so much the case. It came down to social studies and English. I think it was 3 people needed from each department to make that transition and nobody was volunteering. I had 23 meetings in one day with every teacher in both departments, just to hear their concerns, their fears……….. There were people who were very emotional. What I heard most, almost every one of them – they appreciated the time; I made them feel heard and valued. And it went as well as it could go, but it took a long time. As we are doing many things, in terms of budget decisions here, as we are making decisions about having to do more with less, and if we make decisions that involve humans, I think it’s important for the person in the superintendent chair to whenever possible, sit with the people involved, and make sure that everybody feels heard. I think that will make a difference.

Additionally, here are links to the candidate resumes provided:
M. Payler resume
J. Borman resume
K. Hahn resume

%d bloggers like this: