Carbon School District Welcomes New Superintendent, Steve Carlsen

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At last night’s meeting, the Carbon County School Board appointed a new superintendent. They announced that Steve Carlsen, currently serving in the same position for the North Summit School District, will fill the position on July 1, if not before.

Carlsen brings experience with rural schools and a broad background in education, having served as a teacher, administrator and superintendent. He leaves North Summit after 13 years, 10 as superintendent.

“We hope he brings an recognition of the good that is happening in the District, and a new perspective and energy to solving the problems of education,” said Board President Wayne Woodward.

The announcement was an exciting one for the School Board, who have been struggling to restore stability since charges were filed against the superintendent they hired last year, shortly after he was appointed. Now, after accepting his resignation, and searching for a replacement, they believe they “have their man.”

Woodward admitted that the past year’s experience has influenced the way the Board conducted this search. “Of course we’re sensitive, the whole community is sensitive,” he admitted. “The Board members are acutely aware that we are the community, and we looked for broad-based input on the selection of the new superintendent, with increased scrutiny of background.”

That search led them to Carlsen, who was one of nine applicants for the job.

In order to include the community in the search, and to narrow down the applicants, Woodward explained that they had formed a “community-based selection committee” comprised of local mayors and community members. This committee reviewed all of the applications, using a rating system, and then met with the Board to discuss the applicants and to make recommendations.

The Board used those recommendations, which Woodward revealed were in favor of Carlsen, to select those whom they would interview. And from there, the Board “unanimously” made the decision appoint him.

Woodward said the Board was looking forward to Carlsen taking over with “lots of anticipation,” being especially impressed with Carlsen’s background in education. “It was very important to us that the applicant have a full range of education experience,” he said. “Mr. Carlsen brings a very good knowledge, and a comprehension of how education is set up and works in Utah.”

The job is in fact a promotion for Carlsen. Though he leaves a small district for another rural one, the Carbon District is, according to Woodward, 3.5 times as large as the North Summit District, and offers a broader range of programs.

The School Board and selection committee were not the only ones “doing their homework”, as Woodward related. He said that before Carlsen applied for the job, he came to Price for a site visit, spent much time on the district’s website, and even brought his wife down to see the area. “He was very enthusiastic,” said Woodward.” He didn’t apply thinking, ‘Okay, let’s see what happens…’ He put his application in wanting the job.”

Woodward also explained that though Carlsen’s contractual obligations technically last through June, he may be able to assume his position earlier than that because the North Summit District elected to fill the position he leaves from within, making the transition much easier.

“He felt a large sense of responsibility to North Summit School District, and wanted to make sure he completed, in every fashion, his contract and responsibilities, which we supported completely,” Woodward related. “He will come as soon as it is appropriate from him to come.”

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