Christine Villard, Moffat County School District director of student services, poses outside the district's administration building at 775 Yampa Ave. Villard was selected to become the district's next assistant superintendent by a 10-person selection committee that included school district administrators, clerical staff and School Board members.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Christine Villard, Moffat County School District director of student services, poses outside the district's administration building at 775 Yampa Ave. Villard was selected to become the district's next assistant superintendent by a 10-person selection committee that included school district administrators, clerical staff and School Board members.

Views from both sides

Future assistant superintendent brings 28 years of experience to position

At a glance

Christine Villard

Future Moffat County School District assistant superintendent

• Moffat County School District director of student services: 4 years

• Total years in education: 28

Education

• University of Northern Colorado, 1980: Bachelor's degree in elementary education and special education

• Arizona State University, 1993: Master's degree in special education

• University of Denver, 2001: Doctorate, school psychology with an emphasis in administration

Christine Villard, Moffat County School District director of student services, prepares for her day in her sun-flooded office.

The room, tucked in the Moffat County School District Administration Building's east end, is uncluttered and clean. The space gives off an aura of stability and organization.

Orderly appearances aside, the last 12 months have been anything but static for Villard.

While the district has begun work on a capital construction project, which includes the construction of a new middle school, the Colorado Department of Education has begun focusing its attentions on "independent student achievement and growth," Villard said.

"It's been a busy year," she added, smiling.

Both changes directly affect Villard, who serves on the district's core administrative team and works to secure grant and state funding for various student populations.

Villard's ability to stay organized in the midst of change - and a few other characteristics - stood out to District Superintendent Pete Bergmann.

A 10-person team, which included district administrators, clerical staff and Bergmann reviewed applications for a new assistant superintendent.

The position's current holder, Joel Sheridan, announced his retirement last year.

The group found Villard, whose 28-year education career includes teaching regular and special education.

The interview committee didn't have far to look. Villard has been with the school district for eight years and has held her directorship for four years.

Sheridan's retirement goes into effect June 30. Villard will take over as the district's second-in-command the next day.

But, Villard doesn't see it that way.

"I just see it as a job that needs to be done," she said One that requires "an excitement and a passion for making things better for children."

"That's what I like to do."

The path leading to Villard's promotion was based on education - both formal and practical.

Villard double-majored in elementary education and special education as a University of Northwest Colorado undergraduate. In 1993, she earned her Master's degree in special education from Arizona State University.

The University of Denver awarded her a doctorate in school psychology, with an emphasis in administration, in 2001.

She interspersed her forays into higher education with teaching regular and special education in Colorado, Arizona and Santiago, Chile.

She and her husband, Lynn, met and married in Craig in 1982. They returned to the area in 2000 with their two children, Sean, now 23, and Amy, 21.

"We wanted to raise our two children in a small community and we, of course, like Craig," she said. "We needed to call some place 'home.'"

Moffat County gave Villard more than a sense of place.

It also allowed her to work with diverse student populations and gave her samplings of numerous district functions.

Four years ago, Villard assumed direction of the district's student services department, which focuses on the needs of English language learners, at-risk students and other special populations.

"The (directorship) of student services is probably the most comprehensive position" in the district, Bergmann said. "It involves many specialty areas of school district operations - everything from managing consolidated funds and federal dollars to directing our student services (for) special education and (English as a Second Language) populations."

Bergmann thinks those experiences, coupled with a spot on the district's core administrative team and membership on state and regional forums, prepared Villard for the tasks she will face as assistant superintendent, he said.

Villard agrees.

"I think my experience in teaching regular (education) and working with special populations has given me a broad perspective of the needs of both sides," she said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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