The Ridgway School District Board of Education last week held a special meeting in which members chose Susan Lacy as the district’s new superintendent.
Lacy will work with current superintendent Steve Smith during a transition period and will begin her role as the district’s chief July 1, the district said in a news release.
On May 1, the Ridgway school board interviewed three finalists for the position after an 11-member stakeholder group — including the elementary and secondary school principals, teachers, students, parents, and other school staff — interviewed the applicants on April 30.
Board president Greg Lawler said the board was pleased with all three finalists (Kirk Henwood and Bethany Massey were the others). The board chose Lacy, Lawler said, because “Susan Lacy enjoys an outstanding reputation as an educator and a leader. Her prior experience as a principal here in Ridgway helped. Her experience in education abroad coupled with the relationships she has built in the district over the last year, made her stand out.”
Lawler described the eight original applicants for the position as “an excellent pool of candidates.”
Lacy’s career includes 17 years of teaching, as well as seven years in school administration. Lacy spent the past academic year as an educational consultant for teacher coaching and STEM curriculum development in the Ridgway School District. She was concurrently enrolled in a superintendent licensure program at the University of Colorado-Denver.
Previously, Lacy worked for the American International Schools (kindergarten through high school) in Bangladesh and Zambia as a school administrator and program coordinator from 2008-16. She worked for the Ridgway School District from 2001-07 as a middle school English teacher and team leader, a district support staff member, and Ridgway Secondary School principal.
“I have been impressed by the district’s excellence in teaching, the commitment of the school community to continuous improvement, and the attention to academic rigor within a welcoming school climate that supports the social and emotional needs of children,” Lacy said earlier, when she was named one of three finalists for the position.
Lacy plans “to align the needs of all stakeholders to work in partnership towards fulfilling the school’s mission and vision” by staying open, listening actively and prioritizing needs.
Her philosophy about hiring is not only to look for the best fit for the position, but to look at how that person will contribute to the greater faculty team.
She believes clear communication is central to building trust and support between a school district and the community.
“Creating channels for two-way communication between the community and the school district is key to clear communication and prevents misunderstandings,” she said.
Ridgway School District, which is one of two districts in Ouray County, has one elementary school that includes preschool classes and a secondary school that is comprised of grades 6-12.
When the district began the search after Smith announced his retirement plans in March, it described its superintendent position this way: “Among the many responsibilities required, the superintendent must nurture and promote a positive culture within our schools, maintain healthy and safe learning environments, effectively manage the finances of the district, lead the schools’ principals and staff toward instructional improvement, and connect with the community in important ways.”