Our view: Big shoes to fill

Craig Editorial Board, Jan. 14, 2009, to April 2009

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Joshua Roberts, newspaper representative
  • Collin Smith, newspaper representative
  • Marianna Raftopoulos, community representative
  • Luke Schafer, community representative
  • John Smith, community representative
  • Lois Wymore, community representative

Our view

New Moffat County School District superintendent has difficult task replacing longtime administrator.

Last week, the Moffat County School Board ended its months-long search for a new lead administrator.

Board members unanimously tabbed Joseph Petrone as the successor to Pete Bergmann, who is retiring at the end of the school year, as the district's next superintendent.

Bergmann served the district admirably in his years of service, the Editorial Board believes.

Education is the cornerstone of any community, and as the School District's top administrator, Bergmann carried the daunting responsibility to provide the public's children with the best education and facilities possible.

In his tenure, he managed the district through lean budget years and helped usher in $29.5 million in new school construction.

Even the district's recent botched attempt to coax $365,000 out of the city of Craig for an expanded gymnasium at Craig Middle School can be seen as an attempt to better provide for the community; yes, the proposal turned into a colossal blunder, but at least the district had the community's best interest in mind.

All of this adds up to two things for the incoming Petrone, 56, a Pinedale, Wyo., resident and a former assistant superintendent of Sweetwater County School District No. 1 in Rock Springs, Wyo.

First, it will be left to Petrone to lead district educators, administrators and staffers with the same class, dignity and community-mindedness that Bergmann did.

Second, Petrone will be pledged with not simply holding the district steady at its current level, but taking it up a notch.

It's much easier for a newcomer to take a downtrodden organization or company and raise it to a decent standard. It's much more difficult to take a decent organization and make it great.

And that's what will be asked of Petrone, the Editorial Board contends.

The community places its trust in the School District to educate its children, and it recently invested almost $30 million of its money to better facilitate that process.

Parents and taxpayers deserve a decent return on that investment through increased test scores, higher graduation rates and better overall student preparation for the world that awaits them once school is over.

Bergmann laid the foundation for success; it's Petrone's duty to build on it.

The School Board offered hefty praise upon Petrone when it made its selection almost a week ago.

The Editorial Board, like the community at large, hopes our new superintendent performs at a level that is worthy of those complimentary words.

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