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District » Superintendent's Message

Superintendent's Message

Dear Clear Creek School District Families,


Many of you have seen articles through the Interim Superintendent process discussing the qualifications of candidates and some brief overviews of each of us. I was impressed with my peers in the candidate pool, and I am humbled to have been selected as the Clear Creek School District Interim Superintendent for the 2023-2024 school year. It has been a whirlwind relocation with my wife Marcie, a retired career educator, but we have settled in Idaho Springs and are enjoying being part of the central county community. 


With 35 years of experience, each new opportunity allows me to gain new perspectives and learn the importance of adaptability. COVID changed education in many ways, from dynamic learning opportunities, to the portability of classrooms, and broadening the array of opportunities for all students. It is clear that CCSD has successfully navigated the changes, and the evidence of creativity, innovation, and passion for meaningful student success are critical focal points in the daily work. Our CCSD Learner Profile is foundational to the routines and the experiences our students in the classroom are living daily. CCSD has spent the last few years under Karen Quanbeck’s visionary leadership, which should be considered revolutionary as we push the boundaries to allow students unique opportunities in public education.


Why would someone want to take on the CCSD in an interim role?


Interim is a special assignment! Many of my colleagues in this field of work have a passion for students and learning! Educating young minds is energizing, and the interactions are unmatched. We also believe in what is right and true for our young people and are called to do this work on their behalf. We understand the importance of relationships and the positive effect we can have on students as we guide them through their young lives. CCSD is a bright pocket of innovation in public education. Our size allows us to be adaptive and nimble. Our staff talent is some of the best in the industry, and all have student success as a focus.


What are the challenges you see facing our district?


The geographic size of the district is an interesting challenge, along with the economic drivers of the local economies. Communities that were once mining towns have now pivoted to tourism and providing small community experiences for many of our parents who may be commuting to their workplaces. We must remind our constituents about the value of the small neighborhood school and the personal instruction we offer to every student. Our class sizes are amazingly low, and we must take advantage of that opportunity! We also have many staff that are alums and have a deep sense of pride in the work they do for our local students. We have the ability to offer Compass Days and flexibility for staff and families to create experiences that generally do not fit into a traditional schedule. School finance has been the Achilles heel of Colorado public education. The challenge of a balanced budget looms yearly as the legislative session grapples with the elements that restrain spending. We will be mindful of our budgets and ensure future leaders have the reserves they need to continue the work. 


Where do you see us going as a district in the 23-24 school year?


Superintendent Karen Quanbeck is an exceptional leader. She has set a vision that we will continue executing through my interim tenure. Our building leaders are experienced and have strong core values to drive student success. They and our staff are passionate about the work, which is evident in the classrooms. We will focus on student experiences and learner outcomes. Every student deserves our best every day!


Was there anything that surprised you on your first day?


I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming people were in the district. I thought it would be tougher to get to know some of the students, but they are so on it and had me on the floor and at recess! Again, the Georgetown to King-Murphy distance takes some scheduling, and I appreciate the expertise of our transportation staff as they navigate the county. Our facilities are quality, and the community-supported improvements have made the schools shine for our learners.


What makes you such a great fit for Clear Creek?


Like most of the area residents, I love the Colorado Mountains! I was born and raised in Durango and have spent most of my education career in Colorado’s central and southwest regions. Education is a tight-knit community, and following Superintendent Quanbeck will be a chance to continue some excellent and thoughtful work. I am a small-town and small-district personality; these communities allow people to forge relationships and enable staff to know their students at a deeper level.


Besides education, what are you passionate about?


I have a fantastic wife, Marcie, a retired educator in her own right. She has supported my passion to be a school superintendent. We have two grown children who continue to forge their own life paths. We are all excited to get to the high country and explore this area of Colorado with our jeep and by foot. The colors are changing, making me smile as we experience the beauty of all Colorado offers.  


My door is always open, and I enjoy everyone’s perspectives! We may not always agree, but we can create understanding!


Mike Gass

CCSD Interim Superintendent

Mike Gass profile - Laura Johnson.jpeg
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