Superintendent of Moffat County schools on paid administrative leave |

Superintendent of Moffat County schools on paid administrative leave

Eli Pace
Moffat County Superintendent Scott Pankow
Courtesy photo

The Moffat County Board of Education voted unanimously on Monday to put Superintendent Scott Pankow on paid administrative leave.

The board met in a special meeting Monday night and went into an executive session shortly thereafter.

After emerging from the executive session, the board voted 7-0 to place Pankow on paid administrative leave effective immediately.

Before adjourning, board members noted that they will consider other action at another meeting sometime in the future, though they did not say what that action might entail or provide a time frame for when that might be.

There was no explanation or public discussion preceding the vote to put Pankow on paid administrative leave.

Reached over the phone Monday night, School Board President Jo Ann Baxter declined to comment on the vote, saying she was not at liberty to discuss the matter because it involves a personnel issue. Pankow also declined to comment on Monday.

Later Monday night, Baxter and the board issued a statement acknowledging its decision to place Pankow on leave.

“Mr. Pankow has been our superintendent during an extraordinarily challenging period for our school district,” the statement read. “His first school year with the district was nearly derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also at the helm during a challenging and divisive capital bond campaign.

“It is our hope that this difficult decision (Monday night) will be a catalyst for positive change for our faculty, staff, and especially students, whatever it ultimately leads to. As ever, our first priority is the education, safety and success of the students in our district. When hard decisions must be made or difficult conversations must be had, we always undertake them with that directive — and those children and their educators — in mind. (Monday’s) action was no different.”

The statement said that, out of respect for Pankow and appreciation for his efforts, the school board would not comment further at this time.

The statement said the board anticipates its members will meet again soon to decide the next steps.

Monday was the third time the board had met to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation in three months after special meetings also were called on April 4 and March 23 for the same reason.

According to newspaper archives, Pankow came into the position with more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, as well as serving as superintendent of the Ouray School District.

The Moffat County school board hired Pankow as interim superintendent in June 2020 following then-Superintendent David Ulrich’s resignation to lead the Kirkwood School District in Missouri. In July 2021, a contract went into effect making Pankow the permanent replacement.

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