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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 superintendent finalists meet the community

Falcon School District 49 held two community meetings May 20 and May 21 introducing the four finalists for superintendent. Bradley Schoeppey, Bentley Rayburn, Michael Poore and Donna Howell participated in a panel moderated by Peggy Littleton, member of the Colorado Board of Education.D 49 Board of Education president Anna Bartha said the board received 25 applications for the position. “The board went through a long process to winnow the pool of candidates down to four finalists, each of whom is uniquely qualified to lead our district,” she said.Bartha said the meetings were a critical step to gathering community feedback on the finalists. “The board wants the students and families of our district to play an important role in the final decision that is made,” she said.Each finalist answered a variety of questions, and D 49 collected feedback from parents, staff and community members in the form of an essay-type questionnaire.The community meetings were part of a condensed hiring process that began in early April.At the May 21 forum held at Sand Creek High School, each candidate was asked to identify his or her top three priorities, if they were given the position.”My first priority is kids,” Rayburn said. “My second priority is the kids and my third priority would be the kids.” He said he would work to raise the overall achievement level of the students district wide, close the gap that exists for students who face academic challenges and focus on teacher and professional development.”You have great schools and great teachers,” Schoeppey said. He said he would review curriculum instruction to ensure each school makes adequate yearly improvements. He would also balance the budget and work to bring unity and focus to the district.Howell said she would listen and learn about what is currently happening in the district. Then, she would engage the stakeholders in revisiting and reaffirming the district’s mission. “This becomes the beginning of a healing process,” Howell said. Third, Howell said she would work to raise student achievement.”I want the community to say ‘I’m proud of Falcon schools,'” Poore said. To accomplish this goal, Poore said he would work to engage students in the learning process, form community partnerships and create a district-wide expectation of excellence and collaboration.The D 49 Falcon Board of Education met May 27 to review the feedback from community members. They will announce their selection for superintendent by mid-June.About the finalistsDonna HowellCurrently the executive director of Yampa Valley Housing Authority, Howell has 30 years of public education experience. Most recently, she was superintendent of Steamboat Springs School District in Steamboat Springs, Colo.She is experienced in implementing district-wide standards-based curriculum alignment and mapping processes, staff development programs and school improvement processes.Michael PoorePoore is deputy superintendent of Colorado Springs District 11, where he has served since 2007. He has 12 more years experience as a school administrator, including serving as superintendent of Sheridan School District in Denver from June 2003 to 2007, and 10 years experience in the classroom.His accomplishments include leading D 11 to improved academic performance, despite an increase in the district’s at-risk population, and helping the district achieve recognition as one of the top three “Response to Intervention” sites in the state.Bentley RayburnRetired Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn served as an Air Force fighter pilot for 31 years. From 2001 until he retired in 2006, Rayburn was commander of the Air Force Doctrine Center and president of the Air War College.While president of the Air War College, Rayburn secured formal accreditation for its strategic studies master’s degree program with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He also led a team of professionals who evaluated the professional education of U.S. officers and enlisted forces.Bradley SchoeppeySchoeppey is area superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools in Tulsa, Okla., where he has served since 2001. He supervised up to 24 schools and has more than 20 years teaching and administrative experience.During his tenure as area superintendent, Schoeppey has overseen significant improvement in student achievement and schools making adequate yearly progress. The number of schools on the “Needs Improvement List” dropped from 37 to 11 and the district as a whole has been removed from the “Needs Improvement List.”

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