Christine Villard, shown in Toni Tuttle and Lisa Wood's preschool classroom, is one of three finalists for the Moffat County School District superintendent position. Villard serves as the district's assistant superintendent, a position she has had since July 2008. Superintendent Pete Bergmann plans to retire before the 2009-10 school year.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Christine Villard, shown in Toni Tuttle and Lisa Wood's preschool classroom, is one of three finalists for the Moffat County School District superintendent position. Villard serves as the district's assistant superintendent, a position she has had since July 2008. Superintendent Pete Bergmann plans to retire before the 2009-10 school year.

Longtime educator Villard aiming for school district's top role

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Superintendent search

The Moffat County School Board plans to host public interviews for its three finalists for superintendent later this week. Assistant Superintendent Christine Villard's interview, planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the administrative building at 775 Yampa Ave, will be first.

The other two candidates, Dr. Joseph Petrone, of Pinedale, Wyo., and Dennis Wilson, of Evanston, Wyo., will be interviewed Thursday and Friday at the same time and location.

Petrone's most recent education experience was as elementary principal and curriculum and professional development coordinator for Jakarta International School in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1995 to 2006.

Most recently, he worked as health, safety and research and development coordinator for High Sierra Energy-Anticline Disposal in Boulder, Wyo., from 2007 to October 2008.

Wilson works as the Uinta County School District superintendent of schools, a position he has had since 2004.

When other children pretended to be astronauts and firefighters, Christine Villard "played school."

She would line up her dolls and teach.

It was natural, Villard said. Her mother and grandmother were teachers, as was her grandmother's father before that.

Now 50 years old and eight months into her tenure as assistant superintendent of the Moffat County School District, Villard's passion has not faded.

"I always just had a natural inclination to want to work with children," she said. "If I had gone into another field, it would have been working with children, too."

Villard has spent roughly 27 years in education.

She spent 11 years as an elementary and special education teacher and earned her masters of education and a doctorate in school psychology. She now has worked for almost nine years as a Moffat County district administrator, serving as school psychologist and director of student services before her promotion to assistant superintendent.

Now, she is poised to take a further step.

Villard is one of three finalists approved by the Moffat County School Board for the district's superintendent position. Whoever is chosen will succeed Superintendent Pete Bergmann, who plans to retire before the 2009-10 school year.

The board plans to host public interviews for each candidate this week, starting with Villard at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the administrative building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Villard said she did not always see herself vying for head administrator of a school district.

"I thought I'd be a regular education teacher or a special education teacher for the rest of my career," Villard said about her early years in a classroom.

It wasn't until she moved back to the U.S. after spending three years in Santiago, Chile, that she thought about becoming an administrator.

She taught school there, trying to reach English- and Spanish-speaking students in the same classroom. The experience made her examine how she taught and how people learn, and caused her to take up a different path.

One that Villard said allows her to bring a personal philosophy to education.

"I learned so much about children and how they learn, how people grow," Villard said. "I think we all have common ways of communicating; we just have different ideas or understanding of about how to access our goals. Knowing there are many different perspectives has become a critical piece of what I've done as an administrator."

If chosen as superintendent, Villard said she would work with every group - students, teachers, families and the community as a whole - to foster success.

The district has instituted programs to bolster student success in the past two years, she said, such as tracking student progress through the year. Administrators know using year-end standardized tests is too late to gauge student performance.

"We're not finished there," Villard said. "We need to keep working to improve (student achievement), and we need to move into the next step, the primary portion of which is teachers."

Villard said she hopes to strengthen the district's professional learning communities, which allow teachers to work together on problems, mentor one another and participate in training exercises.

Her familiarity with the school district, where it's been and where it can go, is part of what Villard said makes her the best superintendent candidate.

"I know this district well," she said. "I know what we've been working on and believe in the program we've implemented."

The other part is her passion for Moffat County, Villard said, which drives her more than anything else.

For the longtime educator, the opportunity to lead a school district is another step in a life dedicated to teaching, a life that began innocently with a young girl "playing school" with her dolls.

"I love this community," she said. "I'm committed to this community. I want what is best for Moffat County. I live here, I may have grandchildren that go to these schools (someday) and it's important to me that we provide the best education, not only for my family but for every family."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

boxer21 5 years, 9 months ago

I would post a longer comment about this but native_craig_guy took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with him fully. I think Christine would be a for this position. After reading the three articles though, it is hard to say that any of them would be a poor choice. I think we are in a "win-win" situation. Good for Craig.

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John Kinkaid 5 years, 9 months ago

Why didn't the paper interview the other candidates for this article???? One sided and biased journalism......still.

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buck523 5 years, 9 months ago

I would love to see her resume and her qualitfications to lead a school district. What is her school leadership experience? As a community member with children in the school's, this is stuff that I want to know. In addition, I would love to see the information on the other candidates. This is a huge decision and I would hope it is not decided by the "good ol' boys network". I'm hoping it is decided by qualifications and leadership qualities.

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AltitudeAdjustment 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with both Jason and Buck's points, because I know the school district spent a lot of money on a search firm to find "other qualified candidates." At the same time, it amazes me that we constantly go outside of the community and pay to bring in leadership when we have great leadership already in place. More often than not that leadership we bring in doesn't fit and we end up back at the beginning after we waste valuable time and money on the process. We have been trusting Pete to run our district for years, and he has been trusting Christine for a long time to be his "right hand man." That reference and those qualifications should be enough for her to get the job, but interestingly enough I guess they aren't.

Christine has an article written on her because it is a local face and a local name who is a candidate for a high profile position. I don't believe the other candidates are from around here, so having their mugshot in the paper is not of much interest to the community until after they are hired.

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bjacobson 5 years, 9 months ago

As you know I am not a fan of having the newspaper involved in the community forum, but in the accusation at the beginning of the post it is said, "One sided and biased journalism :still." Actually, the truth is we have stories planned for tomorrow and Thursday regarding the other candidates, and we are actively involved in getting in touch with those candidates. In the story it is mentioned that the public interview for Mrs. Villard is on Wednesday hence the story in today's paper.

As always please feel free to call me or email me directly with any comments or questions that you may have. 875-1788 or bjacobson@craigdailypress.com.

Thanks Bryce

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Really 5 years, 9 months ago

I have been hearing around town that this is a done deal - she's going to be hired. And then they are going to keep Bergmann around as a consultant to help her learn the ropes.

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native_craig_guy 5 years, 9 months ago

I think that it is great that we have a local canidate that is qualified for this position and who has obviously impressed the people who chose her over the other canidates. The fact that she is tied to the community and that she is involved in many other organizations proves that she would be a great person to head up our school district. I am not against the other two canidates, but I believe that when it comes to our schools we need someone who is engaged in the community and who is already familiar with the inner workings of the district, this will limit the learning curve that will be a factor with any canidate. Again, I think that she would be great.

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John Kinkaid 5 years, 9 months ago

One sided and biased journalism...... still.

One superintendent candidate gets a front page photo that is 8 1/2" X 6 1/2". In today's paper another candidate gets a front page photo that is roughly 1 1/2" X 1". I didn't check the word count. One picture is worth a thousand words; indeed.

I think that a previous posting must be correct. It is practically a done deal.

Whoever gets the superintendent position must get a handle on the high school. I believe that it would be a true statement to say that academic achievement is still tanking. It should have turned around and headed up long ago. Vast improvements should have been realized by now. Sub par results should not be acceptable.

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jitterbug 5 years, 9 months ago

Do you think the fact that the second guy lives in Wyoming had anything to do with that? People, if we keep beating up on the paper for things they already did (or in this case something they couldn't do) then how can we expect them to listen when we have something important to say?

I for one really like the way the paper is doing this. Instead of writing bogus promises about things they'll never do, they're writing about who these people are and why they want to be in education. More like this please!

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John Kinkaid 5 years, 9 months ago

This just gets better and better.

In today's paper poor Mr. Petrone gets no photo at all and Ms. Villard gets a second article and PHOTO. The biased journalism is compounded!! Mr. Petrone probably wasn't available for a picture to be taken. I get that. But a second photo of Ms. Villard with her interview article?

Hmmmm. I wonder who the paper wants to be hired?

Mr. Jacobson, please explain. No spin, please.

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