By Julia Caulfield
Mike Gass, superintendent of the Telluride School District, has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Gass has been an educator in Colorado for 30 years, and the superintendent in Telluride since 2015. He says getting to work with the staff and students has been a highlight of his tenure in the position.
“Some of the things that continually drive me as an educator is the opportunity to be in such a great place. It’s not lost on me, I love the kids and I love the staff that I work with on a daily basis, and I mean that because I get to actually be in the building; part of that energy that happens in the hallway in the school year; having one of my own kids graduate from Telluride High School is certainly special,” Gass says.
He also notes how special it is to work in a district where the school is a hub of the community.
“I continually look at the quality of people that we get to work with on a daily basis, whether it’s the staff in the building, or the parents in the community, or the governmental support from the Town Council, Commissioners, law enforcement. Everybody plays a role in a school in a community like this, and that’s a pretty awesome place to be,” Gass says.
Gass says one of the main priorities in his final year will be putting the pieces into place that will allow the person who takes his place to be successful.
He also wants to focus on the opportunities the district provides for graduating students who might not be college bound.
“You know, I can’t say enough about our staff and our academic programming. You know, Telluride is a college going machine, but I think one of the things I would hope we work on over the next year – and my successor – what about the kid that isn’t necessarily always headed to college? What opportunities are we continuing to create for them locally that allow them to try college out, or technical school, or get in the work force and be a leader in our community in that way?” says Gass.
After retiring, Gass and his wife plan to move to the Oregon coast, although he says they’re still figuring out what’s next.
“You know, I may jump back in the education game and play some roles that I’ve enjoyed in the past. But we really don’t know, Colorado has been great to us, we’re both Colorado natives and we’re just going to kind of throw it out there and see what happens,” Gass says.
The Telluride School District Board of Education will begin a national search for a new superintendent in the fall. There are three School Board seats up for election in November. Gass notes those members will have a large hand in hiring the new superintendent.