Prior to the Mineral County School Board Trustees March 8 meeting, school superintendent Walt Hackford announced that he would be retiring from the district.
In a statement to the Independent-News, he explains, “Following a 31-year career in Education I have decided to retire and move forward with other interests in life. I wish to thank all of the many students, staff, and community members who have worked beside me and friended me over my past 11 years in Mineral County. Certainly, I will reflect often upon the many wonderful memories of student achievements and accomplishments throughout my retirement years. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to speak with former students who have moved on to enjoy happy lives and successful careers. To all of the staff and students of MCSD I wish you the best.”
Hackford has worn many hats within the district. He was the principal of both the Mineral County High School and Schurz Elementary. He would later move into the position of superintendent after then Superintendent Chris Schultz was bought out of his contract worth $80,424.
On May 7, 2015 Hackford official took the position of superintendent, though he had worked the position during after the absence of Schultz.
During his tenure, Hackford was successful in securing the school bond during the last election which helped the aging school district buildings to upgrade. He had been hammered this summer when the geo-thermal company hired to upgrade the district heating and cooling system could not meet the deadline set. In a letter to the Independent-News earlier this year, Hackford explained that the blunder had been rectified and that heating and cooling was installed in all buildings within the district.
In his letter to the board of trustees, Hackford feels confident in his choice to retire, explaining that he had served in education for 31 years.
“I will continue to serve this district fully and cheerfully in my current capacity and assist with the transition of a new superintendent in any positive way possible,” he said.
Unfortunately for Hackford, his evaluation from the March 8 meeting left the trustees wanting more from their superintendent. Out of the 48 questions which were averaged, only 1 and 2 scores were recorded. The rating scale for 1 is unsatisfactory – performance is ineffective and does not meet expectations and 2 is needs improvement – self-improvement efforts needed.
His lowest score of 1.4 was given in both “Insures that the Governance Calendar is up-to-date, properly maintained and followed by all staff” and “Understands and Supervises the preparation, presentation and administration of the School District budgets & grants and assists the Board in analysis of the budget’s monthly reports.”
Trustee Keith Neville commented on the review, “It is obvious that concerns have not been addressed over the past three years. I believe it is time to move forward with this district and strive to find a leader that will do the job he or she is hired to do.”
“Putting out fires or if on “a project” there seemed to be engagement. But many areas have shown a dis-engagement and lack of oversight or follow thru as this leadership role required,” Trustee Sheryl Samson wrote.
“The community members should be informed on a regular basis in regards to how our district is allocating the school bond monies and updated regularly on the progress of the geothermal project as it has greatly exceeded its original completion date,” Trustee Schyler Hagen concluded in her evaluation of Hackford.
The school board will meet on Thursday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m. to being the recruitment of a new superintendent for Mineral County School District. The meeting is open to the public.