New superintendent to start Wednesday

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Joseph Petrone

Joe Petrone won't officially become Moffat County School District superintendent until Wednesday, but he has been visiting Craig and attending district meetings since mid-April.

"It's been very healthy for me to just be here these last few months," Petrone said in a work session before Thursday's School Board meeting. "We want to make this transition as smooth as possible."

June's board meeting marked the last for current superintendent Pete Bergmann, who will retire Tuesday.

"I feel very good about the process that has transpired over the last few months," Bergmann said. "It's been a good experience for a transition."

His replacement, Petrone, has worked in education for 25 years. He was previously assistant superintendent of Sweetwater County School District No. 1 in Rock Springs, Wyo., and served as an administrator at an American school in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In March, the School Board unanimously voted, 7-0, to offer Petrone the position over current assistant superintendent Christine Villard, and Dennis Wilson, the former Uinta County School District No. 1 superintendent.

During the work session, Petrone, Bergmann, administrators and the board discussed the superintendent transition.

Petrone gave a presentation outlining several different categories he wants to assess and improve.

One of these categories was "lead for learning."

Petrone said the quality of education in each of the district's schools depends not only on teachers, but also on the leadership of the district functioning at a high level.

Petrone and the board discussed a retreat for later in the summer, as well as several ways to improve relations between the board and administrators.

But, Petrone sees value in building relationships with the entire community, and many of the board members were quick to invite Petrone along to various meetings and other opportunities to meet community leaders.

"July will really be you orienting me to the way this board works," he said.

Petrone said it also was important to get to know his new community geographically.

"My wife and I were driving down here, and we saw on a map that we could go straight on this road," he said. "Well, it turns out we could, but it wasn't exactly direct. But, even if I did get stuck in the mud, it was a great learning experience. It's important for me to get to know the county I live and work in."

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