West Grand announces superintendent candidates

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by Kim Cameron
West Grand Board of Education recently announced their four finalists for the Superintendent position. The finalists were narrowed from a pool of 14 applicants.

The District is hosting a Community Meet & Greet on Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m., outside at the K-8 school.
The Board will then conduct interviews on Wednesday, JuneThe candidates will interview with the Board and will also interview with a panel composed of district staff, two community members, and two parents.

The Board is expected to make their Superintendent selection during their July meeting.

The four finalists are Jaime Dawn Cole, Grant Schmidt, Robert Stannard, Jr., and Chris Whetzel.

Ms. Jaime Cole

Jaime Cole, of Phoenix, Arizona, served as the Superintendent of the Peach Springs Unified School District for five years, from 2015
to 2020. During her tenure at the small district, she served in many capacities as superintendent, including board secretary and business office coordinator. Her duties also extended throughout the school as principal and handling student discipline. In addition, she was testing coordinator, instructional coach, professional development coordinator, special education coordinator, and a
parent trainer and facilitator.

Cole’s original background was in Special Education K-12. She is currently earning her doctorate from Northern Arizona University and holds a Masters in Education Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University and a Masters in Elementary from Western New Mexico Graduate Studies in Gallup, New Mexico.

As an educator, she is Nationally Board Certified and was named Apache County Teacher of the Year. She has served on a committee for the National Board Professional Teaching Standards in Washington, DC for the Middle Childhood Generalist Standards, and she served as a National Board Pre-Candidacy Facilitator and provider.


Dr. Grant Schmidt

Grant Schmidt, of Parker, Colorado, most recently served as the Hanover School District Superintendent and also served as the Falcon School District superintendent from 2008-2009. In addition to his superintendent positions, he has nine years of teaching and principal experience. He has also instructed at graduate and undergraduate levels.

While he held the position of Senior Vice President with EdisonLearning, Inc from 2009-2012, he was recognized by
the Colorado Commissioner of Education and Superintendents for his management and organizational effectiveness leadership.
He has a PhD from the University of Denver in Administration and Policy Studies. He also carries a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Colorado and a Masters of Education from the University of Phoenix.

According to Colorado Springs’ newspaper, The Gazette, while Schmidt was at the helm, Hanover gained national attention in 2016 when it became the first district in the Pikes Peak region to agree to allow trained teachers and other staff to be armed at school.


Mr. Robert A. Stannard, Jr.

Robert Stannard, Jr., of Castle Pines, Colorado,is currently the Vice Principal of Littleton Academy, a Charter School with 465 students and 55 teachers and staff. Previously, he served as Superintendent of Yuma-1 SD from 2011 to 2015. As a former engineer and businessman, his background has been varied with much of his experience at charter schools, beginning with his position as a secondary mathematics teacher at the Collegiate Academy.

He also served as Director of Education of Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum,a headmaster at the Colorado Military Academy, and an assessment coordinator at the Pinnacle Charter School. He was also the Founding Board President of the Colorado Digital BOCES.

He gained a Professional Degree from the University of Denver in K-12 Administration. He earned his Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems from the University of Saint Thomas and his Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.


Mr. Chris Whetzel

Chris Whetzel, of Flagler, Colorado, is currently the Superintendent of Woodlin School District and a Leadership Coach
at Consultant at Coaching2TNL, LLC. Previously, he served as the Superintendent at Karval School District and the Sierra Grande School District. He has also served as principal at the Hoehne Schools, the Littleton Prep Charter School, and Carson Elementary School.

For seven years, Whetzel worked for the educational textbook company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He began as a salesperson, moved to executive sales and later worked in management. Interestingly, Whetzel played for a U.S. National Korfball Team.


To see complete resumes for each candidate visit, www.wgsd.us. For more information on the interview panel or to volunteer, call 970-724-3217, and to share your input about candidates with the West Grand Board of Education, email Board President Shawn Lechman at [email protected]