MEDC is pleased to present the 2018 Economic Development Award to Stephen Schiell, Superintendent of Montrose County School District. MEDC presents this award annually to individuals, companies or economic development partners who have made a significant impact on our community and who have supported the efforts of MEDC.
A key component for successful economic development efforts is a well-educated workforce. Steve has brought about positive change in our district to increase opportunities for our students to be better prepared to advance in their education and enter the workforce.
Steve joined the Montrose School District in 2015. One of the first tasks he took on was to balance the budget. Steve worked tirelessly with the school board and his team to make it happen. Through his leadership, relationships were strengthened, trust and respect were gained not only in the school district but throughout the entire community.
In 2016 Steve devoted hundreds of hours along with the K.I.D.S. task force to pass a ballot initiative to optimize a BEST grant and build a new Columbine Middle School. He continually met with groups within the community to educate them about the need for a new building. Many believe the initiative would not have passed without his efforts. The school board committed to use local contractors and suppliers throughout the construction thus increasing the projects economic impact on the community.
Steve is leading our school district to become the first K-12 STEM (science- technology- engineering and math) school district in the state. Montrose High School is one of the first schools in the state to utilize “Stem Pathways” to help students reach post-secondary and workforce goals.
Together with Dr. Gary Ratcliff, Director of Colorado Mesa University Montrose, a partnership has been formed that will enable high school students to enroll in certificate programs at the Montrose campus. Funded by the school district, these programs include career and technical fields, such as nursing and computer network technology, that enable students to earn college credit while in high school.
In addition, in an effort to increase the college-going rate of high school graduates, Steve worked with the school board to grant CMU permission to bring a college/career advisor to the high schools. This position is dedicated solely to helping high students with getting into college, regardless of which institution that might be.
Through his leadership Steve has brought renewed trust and confidence to our district and has established a strong foundation for our future. He truly has become the face of Montrose County School District.
MEDC is proud to honor Steve Schiell with the 2018 Economic Development Award.