If Joseph Petrone is chosen as the next Moffat County School District superintendent, he would focus on building a staff that operates as a single unit.
"We want to have a staff that understands it is all about moving a child further down the line," Petrone said. "If we have good teachers, we will have good quality students."
Petrone, 56, of Rock Springs, Wyo., was the third of three candidates interviewed by the School Board to replace the retiring Pete Bergmann. During his interview Friday night at the district administrative building, Petrone said he would want a staff that worked toward a common goal.
"Everyone knows the purpose, and everyone knows that they are responsible to collaborate," Petrone said. "It would be malpractice not to participate. It would inadvertently sabotage the team."
To build up and retain his staff, Petrone would focus on marketing.
"There needs to be marketing. I don't know if it's something this district has done, but I was in marketing for 11 years," Petrone said about his 11 years in Jakarta, Indonesia. "We had competition as the school grew, and so we needed to focus on marketing."
To set Craig apart, the schools would need to focus on what makes the district unique, he said.
"Teachers want to learn, too, and we need to offer them a place where they could continue their professional development, and we'll need to show them why this place might be better than others," Petrone said. "There might be places that are similar to Craig, and we would need to celebrate what makes Craig a quality place and highlight what sets it apart from the other towns."
Petrone said he also used the students to help market the school.
"They created a video highlighting the school, and it was a decent product," he said. "Eventually we brought in another firm for something a bit more glamorous, but the students were able to put something together."
Getting the parents involved is equally important, Petrone said.
"Parent partnerships are built on trust, and to achieve that trust we need to keep open a strong stream of communication," Petrone said. "We simply cannot have a partnership without trust, and we need to have a clear understanding if we want to move forward.
"I would tell everyone if you have a problem during a meeting, speak up, don't keep that to yourself. We want a team full of contributors, not blockers, and people who understand that."
Petrone had spent 18 months away from teaching, a point that board member Trish Snyder asked about.
"I think that everyone in the teaching profession should take a gap year take some time off and then come back," Petrone said. "For me, it was the best experience as an educator I could have had.
"A gap year helped to energize and reinvigorate me as an educator, but it is nice to be back with the children in the classroom."
School Board president Rod Durham asked how Petrone would handle tough decisions.
"How would you handle a decision that is tough with the public but is the right thing to do as an educator?" Durham asked.
Petrone said he would make the decisions he thinks best suit the community, even if they were not the most popular.
"I never want to see a community divided 48 percent, 52 (percent), but that is just something that happens in the kind of democracy we live in," he said. "Of course we would like to have those decisions where it's 80 percent approving, but it won't always be that way. And it doesn't matter if it's two people or 200, I will sit down and talk to them. : I don't like to see a fractured community."
Choosing Craig as a potential destination was easy because of the atmosphere in the schools, he said.
"I like the climate of the schools here, and the culture," he said. "You can feel it in the schools that this is a community that cares."
Petrone said he should be selected if the school board wants "the best for the kids, the community and the teachers."
"I feel that I am someone people can trust," he said. "The school board has picked three good candidates, and I feel that I am the one that you can put your trust in."