District search for a new superintendent begins with community and staff focus group


Sydney Booth, Editor-in-chief

Director of maintenance Mike Wight has worked tirelessly for 20 years to take care of five schools and 27 acres of land with a five-person staff. There are 7500 sprinkler heads, over 400 pieces of heating and cooling equipment, tables to fix, and too many light fixtures to count. “I always tell people it’s like walking the Golden Gate Bridge,” Wight said. “You get to the end and you have to do it all over again.” Wight was one of 15 community members and the only staff member in attendance on Jan. 18 for a community focus group on hiring a new superintendent.

The focus group was led by Randy Zila, a former superintendent and a worker for the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). Zila was hired by the school board to help the district make the transition to a new superintendent who will replace current superintendent Dr. Randy Miller as he retires at the end of this school year. Zila said he expects that the public will be made aware of the school board’s decision on the new superintendent by mid-April.

Zila asked the community members five questions to get a better sense of the town itself and what the community expects from a new superintendent. Eaton’s teachers and staff were also asked the same questions in a staff meeting prior to the community meeting. Zila asked how those in attendance would describe Eaton, what some of its strengths and weaknesses were, what qualifications the superintendent would need to have, and what advice each person would give to the superintendent.

The information he collected will be put into a report on CASB’s website that will be used to describe the school district to those looking to apply for the superintendent position. The website posts districts that are looking for a superintendent on its website along with the information gathered at meetings to assist schools in hiring a superintendent that best fits the district and its core values.  

“No matter what we teach in our schools, we have to have strong facilities and good leadership,” Wight said. “We are dealing with facilities that are 67 years old, like this auditorium, and trying to maintain comfort for the staff and students is a big thing. A cold classroom could make a big difference in the learning for the day.”

Community members agreed that the new superintendent must be able to handle the district’s growth, rally community support for the upcoming bond issue, and have an involved attitude towards the schools.

For community members who missed the meeting, it’s not too late to weigh in. Click here to take an online survey from the district webpage that asks the same questions from the meeting.