Last updated 3:19AM ET
December 15, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
California Consultant Tapped for Durango School Superintendent
(2008-01-29)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Durango 9R school board members have named their candidate for superintendent, from a list of three finalists.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

SCHELL: I MOVE THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF LEGAL COUNSEL BE AUTHORIZED TO EXTEND AN OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT FOR THE POSITION OF SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS TO DR. SHALEE CUNNINGHAM.
VICTOR: Board treasurer Jeff Schell made the motion, moments after the 7 member board emerged from a nearly four hour executive session.
Their choice, Shalee Cunningham, is an educational consultant based in Napa, California who has held superintendent positions in three California school districts as well as other positions.
The other two finalists were Glen Szymoniak, Assistant Superintendent of a Homer, Alaska school district, and David Smucker, Assistant Superintendent of the Garfield Re-2 School District in Rifle, Colorado.
The vote to offer a contract to Cunningham was not unanimous.
New board member, Padraig Lynch voted no.
He says he doesn't feel teachers and other district staff members favor her for the job.
LYNCH: THE TEACHERS OVERWHELMINGLY SAID, THE DEA AND SPEA, SAID THAT THEY WOULD LIKE FOR IT TO BE GLEN OR DAVID SMUCKER. AND THAT THEY ASKED NOT, SOME OF THE TEACHERS THAT I KNOW AND RESPECT ASKED THAT SHALEE NOT BE THE SUPERINTENDENT AND I WENT WITH THEIR WISHES.
Board member's aren't allowed to discuss details of executive sessions.
But Board Member Dave Farkas says it really was a lengthy listening session among board members.
FARKAS: I THINK THE GREATEST THING WE CAN DO AS A GROUP OF PEOPLE IS TO BE TOLERANT OF EACH OTHERS OPINIONS AND TO BE ABLE TO LISTEN EFFECTIVELY AND NOT INVOLVE ANY TYPE OF PERSONAL ATTITUDES OR ISSUES IN THERE. WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE COLLABORATING, WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE COMING TOGETHER AS A TEAM AND MAKING DECISIONS. AND SO I THINK THE PROCESS, JUST LISTENING, AND REALLY DISCUSSING ISSUES, THE ISSUE AT HAND, IS WHY IT TOOK US SO LONG.
The vote doesn't mean Cunningham is hired.
The motion authorizes that contract negotiations with Cunningham begin.
Before a contract will be proposed, however, Farkas says two board members and two other faculty or administrators will make site visits to districts where she's served in the past.
FARKAS: WHICH IS GOING TO ENTAIL BASICALLY DRIVING SCHOOL DISTRICT TO SCHOOL DISTRICT, AND VISITING SCHOOLS, TRYING TO TALK TO PEOPLE, TRYING TO EXTRAPOLATE INFORMATION FROM INDIVIDUALS IN HER FORMER SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT WE COULDN'T GET, THE INFORMATION THAT WE COULDN'T GET WHILE SHE WAS HERE.
Following the visits and negotiations, board members would have to vote one last time on Cunningham's contract before she's officially hired.
Cunningham would succeed present Superintendent Mary Barter who has served for 9 years.
Her contract expires this summer.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.

Cunningham could not be reached last night for comment.
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