The Saratoga Sun -

By Mike Dunn 

CCSD#2 hires Copeland as superintendent


Mike Dunn

Jim Copeland, of Fleming, Colo., will be the new superintendent of Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD#2) effective July 1.

On the night of March 13, the CCSD#2 Board of Trustees took action and offered Jim Copeland a two-year contract.

CCSD#2 Board Chairman Diana Berger said that the board was very pleased with all of the finalists. However, she said that Copeland was selected because he shared a similar vision with the board.

"We just felt like he was the right fit," Berger said.

After interviews, looking at resumes, examining feedback forms from the public and calling references, the board decided to offer the position to Copeland.

Berger said the process called for late hours by the board throughout the week.

"It was a long week for us," Berger said about the hiring process. "But it is worth it in the end to have a good superintendent for our district."

According to the CCSD#2 website, the candidates spend the majority of the day touring the schools and their respected communities. Candidates participated in a staff forum, hosted by one of the schools within the district, then a community forum soon there afterwards.

Following the hour-long community forum, the finalists then entered an hour and a half long interview with the CCSD#2 Board of Trustees.

Saratoga Parent Teacher Organization president and executive director of Voices of the Valley KayCee Alameda said that she was very pleased with the Board and their decision.

"I really appreciated that (the school board) made an effort to make this a community decision. I think we have a great candidate in Jim Copeland. I'm very excited to see the future of this school district," Alameda said.

Copeland first met with the community during the superintendent public forum on March 11 at the Platte Valley Community Center.

Growing up in the metropolis of Houston, Texas, Copeland said he's gradually moved towards smaller schools throughout his career.

"I feel like I've gone from huge (schools) to a little bit bigger, to smaller, to small and that has been a conscious decision of [he and his wife] as parents and professionally for me," Copeland said. "Small town life has been a great setting for me professionally and as a parent."

Copeland said that his desire for the CCSD#2 Superintendent job was primarily based on location.

"We just felt like it was time to look around," Copeland said. "Ironically, a few years ago when I got the job in Fleming, I drove through Saratoga ... I remember making the statement 'what a beautiful place. If something were to work out at some point in our lives, this would be a great place to move.'"

As for his managerial style, Copeland said that he is a collaborator and strives to be open to everyone.

"My approach is generally a team-collaborative approach. I'm not a draw a line in the sand kind of person," Copeland said. "But I am very open minded, visible, accessible, approachable and I really have an open-door policy. I like to get my work done early so I am out in the schools."

When asked what he thought about separate time schedules, Copeland said that he is currently in a district with a four-day school week.

"As long as we fully believe that student achievement is where we want it to be ... and we don't feel like that is being shortchanged, and that growth is happening, then I am not against it. But I think it does hinge upon student success."

Copeland also said that he believed in building strong relationships between schools and businesses in the area.

"Good things can happen when you have that partnership," he said.

Though the issue of bullying in schools is nation-wide, Copeland said that he will tackle the problem head-on.

"In schools this small, it is hard to accept that we can't see bullying [happening]," Copeland said.

He said that supervision and taking steps to prevent bullying situations as a solution.

In a later interview, Copeland said that he was thrilled when he got the call with offering him the position.

"I was very excited," Copeland said. "I was with my wife when we got the call and were both very excited about this opportunity. We were very impressed with the communities in Carbon County."

Copeland said that he will be back and forth between Fleming and Carbon County for a while, but he and his family plan on making the move to the Valley in early this summer.

"We will probably move up in June to set up P.O. Box, talk to a real estate agent," he said. "It is a five hour drive from Fleming to Saratoga so it is not too far... we are just excited to start that whole transition and get a feel of Carbon County Two."

As soon as he moves into the district, Copeland said he hopes to get involved with the community.

"I like to take part of community organizations. I was a member of the Lions Club and would love to get involved with that in Carbon County as well," Copeland said. "I want to get out in community, get to know the district and get involved."


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