Middle school principal named interim superintendent

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Former superintendent who was fired now apparently has resigned

By Ian Neligh

The Clear Creek school board has now unanimously accepted the resignation of Superintendent Todd Lancaster, apparently rewriting his departure scenario after two previous votes to fire him. The board then named middle school principal Roslin Marshall as interim superintendent.

During Friday’s meeting, the board learned that the district’s attorney met with Lancaster to discuss the reasons he was fired, and Lancaster subsequently tendered his resignation. School board members have not commented on the issue, saying their attorney has advised them not to.

However, the school board and Lancaster had been at odds, and Lancaster said previously he was told that he didn’t have the trust of teachers at the middle and high school. He also was recommending that the contract of financial officer Willie Leslie not be renewed, an issue that had become contentious.

Lancaster could not be reached for comment on the latest twist in his acrimonious separation from the district.

After a confrontational meeting May 20, the board abruptly fired Lancaster on a 3-2 vote, without giving a clear reason for the dismissal. At a hastily called meeting three days later, the board voted unanimously to dismiss Lancaster “for cause” and placed him on administrative leave while his case was reviewed; he apparently resigned while that leave was in effect.

Interim superintendent

Marshall will act as superintendent until the board hires a permanent replacement, and a search isn’t expected to start until fall.

Board member Kathleen O’Leary said a permanent superintendent should be in place as the district continues to work on curriculum initiatives.

Board president Jeanne Biggs said Marshall agreed to take the interim position, and that she had worked as the acting superintendent in past years.

"I think (Marshall) would be an excellent choice," said board member Peter Monson.

Marshall said she was interested in seeing through the various projects the district has in place.

"Whether or not that would be me doing that work or supporting another person, my interest is in moving things forward," Marshall said. "I'm happy to help out during this transition, whatever that might look like."

Monson thanked Marshall for stepping up during a difficult time for the district.

"You've always been there for the district. Your interests have always had the district first and foremost at heart, so I think we're confident in your abilities to undertake this task," Monson said.

Marshall has worked for the middle school for more than 16 years as a social studies teacher, a track coach and a principal. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has gone through the teacher licensure program at Regis University. She also earned a master's degree from the University of Northern Colorado in educational leadership and policy studies.

Consultant hired to realign curriculum 

The Clear Creek school board voted unanimously on May 30 to sign a contract with the Flippen Group, a consulting firm, for about $72,000 a year to align the curriculum through all grades.

Curriculum alignment is part of the new teacher-leader administrative structure the school board has agreed to but hasn’t formally approved. The new structure, as originally planned by former superintendent Todd Lancaster, eliminates the $100,000-a-year curriculum director position effective with the 2014-15 school year. The board would also pay $36,000 — or $3,000 per teacher per year — in annual stipends to 12 teacher-leaders. It also combines the middle- and high-school principal positions in two years. It is unknown if Lancaster's departure will affect the district's final plans for restructuring.

Middle school principal Roslin Marshall represented the task force that recommended the Flippen Group but added that efforts to reduce costs to the district would continue.

"So at this point, our principals group is in agreement that we'd like to move forward with the understanding that we're going to still work to reduce the costs," Marshall said.