Telluride man picked to take reins of Re-1 school district

School board picks Alex Carter as new superintendent

Keywords: Poll question,

The Montezuma-Cortez School Board Re-1 Tuesday night officially selected Alex Carter to be its next superintendent for $115,000 a year pending the completion of contract negotiations.

Carter, 40, had worked in Telluride as a high school principal when Re-1 Interim Superintendent Mary Rubadeau led that district. He also served on her executive committee team while both worked for the Telluride School District.

Carter said the board called him Saturday night to ask if he would accept the Re-1 superintendent position.

“I said I would be thrilled,” Carter said by phone Wednesday morning, and added he was humbled by the offer.

He said the final contract negotiations are little more than a formality.

Carter, who lives in Telluride, was the former chief academic officer for TVtextbook and a principal at Telluride High School and Brentsville District High School in Virginia and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree from Walden University, which he expects to complete in July.

Carter said he is extremely gratified and is excited to have the opportunity to work with the teachers, students, parents, administrators and the community on increasing student achievement.

The new superintendent said he has worked hard throughout his carer to get this type of opportunity.

While Carter will not officially take over Re-1 until July 1, he said the work has already begun.

“The primary focus is on student achievement,” he said. “Every decision we make will be based on students.”

He said the motto will be “kids first whatever it takes.”

Carter also said if Re-1 does this, it will help students realize their potential and reiterated the district’s focus will be dedicated to student achievement.

The Colorado Department of Education’s decision to put Re-1 on a five-year school improvement plan will not change how Carter plans to lead the district, as he said the focus will always be on student achievement because this is what schools are suppose to concentrate on.

He said the students in Cortez are receiving big parts of the puzzle right now and would like to add the pieces to complete the puzzle.

Having worked with Rubadeau and seeing how her strategies have worked in the past, helped convince Carter to try to implement similar procedures in Re-1.

“I worked with her for years,” he said. “I learned the systems she put in place to increase student achievement.”

He also said he plans to begin working with the board immediately while getting to know the teachers, parents and other members of the community.

“I hope to become a familiar face for all of Cortez over the next few months,” he said. He added that he will be involved in the budget process and the other decisions within the district.

He also said he knows he needs to hire some key positions, including openings for principals for the 2012-13 school year.

Re-1 Board President Tim Lanier thanked the two committees that interviewed the four superintendent candidates, saying their feedback was extremely helpful.

Lanier said the decision was not as easy as he thought it was going to be because of the high quality of all the applicants.

“(Carter) worked with Ms. Rubadeau, but he rose to the top all by himself,” Lanier said.

Board member Diane Fox said the school district had four extremely good candidates and is excited with its selection.

“I look forward to him coming on board and taking the reins,” she said. “We really did have four good candidates. He is an exciting man, and he is excited to be down here.”

The three other finalists were M. Neil Terhune, 59, superintendent of the Carbon County School District in Rawlins, Wyo; Victor Figueroa, 49, assistant superintendent of student achievement for the Durango School District; and Jody Mimmack, executive director of instructional support and chief academic officer for the Mesa County Valley School District No. 51 in Grand Junction.

Michael Maresh can be reached at michaelm@cortezjournal.com