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Adams 12 names supt. finalists

Six finalists for superintendent of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools have been announced by the school board after a search managed by a consultant and contacts with more than 170 potential candidates.

All the finalists have administrative experience in school districts, but only three have traditional up-from-the-teaching-ranks resumes. Three candidates are internal or previously worked for the district.

District Superintendent Mike Paskewicz resigned in August after six years to take a superintendent job in his home state of Michigan.

The finalists to succeed him are:

  • Rod L. Blunck, superintendent of the Brighton Schools and former superintendent in Elizabeth and Julesburg. Earlier in his career he was an assistant superintendent in Adams 12 and a special education teacher in Denver.
  • Christopher E. Gdowski, current general counsel for the district and formerly a lawyer in private practice.
  • James Q. Hammond, superintendent in Davis, Calif., and formerly a superintendent in Washington State. He started his career as a teacher.
  • Peg M. Kastberg, community superintendent for the Jefferson County Schools and a former administrator and teacher in Summit County.
  • Joseph J. Redden, an education consultant from Georgia who formerly was superintendent in Cobb County, a suburban Atlanta district with more than 100,000 students. He’s a retired Air Force lieutenant general and is a graduate of the Air Force Academy.
  • Robert K. Webber, the Adams 12 assistant superintendent for business services.

The board plans to make a decision by Oct. 15 – Paskewicz’ last day – and the candidates will interview Oct 7 and 8.

They will be available for community interviews on those evenings, starting at 6:15 p.m. at the district Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton.

Each candidate will be available for an hour, with Webber, Hammond and Blunck on Oct. 7 and Gdowski, Kastberg and Redden on Oct. 8.

Adams 12 is Colorado’s fifth largest school district with about 40,000 students from Broomfield, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster. Enrollment has grown more than 10 percent since 2004.

According to an EdNews analysis of 2009 CSAP results for Adams 12, the district’s reading growth has remained at the 52 percentile for three years; writing has been stable at the 51st and math growth went from the 53rd percentile in 2007 to the 50th in 2008 and the 55th this year.

Minority and non-minority students are both at the 52nd percentile in reading, the 51st in writing and the 55th in math. The ACT average composite score rose to 18.91 in 2009 from 18.7 in 2208. The district enrollment is 39.8 percent minority and 29.7 percent free and reduced lunch.

Last year district voters narrowly approved a $9.9 million mill levy override but defeated an $80 million bond issue. None of the district board seats on the ballot this year are contested.

Elsewhere in the metro area, the Douglas County board is preparing a superintendent search to replace Jim Christensen, who resigned in August, effective Thursday. There is a contentious campaign this fall for board seats in the district.

The Pueblo City school board earlier this month promoted Assistant Superintendent Kathy West to the top job.

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