Choosing a change in direction, the Moffat County School District unanimously selected Joseph Petrone as the district's next superintendent during its meeting Thursday night.
Petrone, 56, edged out Christine Villard, the district's current assistant superintendent, and Dennis Wilson, the former Uinta County School District No. 1 superintendent.
The board voted, 7-0, to offer Petrone the position.
Pete Bergmann, the current Moffat County School District superintendent, is retiring in June.
Villard will remain with the district as assistant superintendent.
"Tomorrow, we will all begin wondering about working under our new boss," Villard said. "This is a change, and change is good. Change is energizing and renewing."
Board member Jo Ann Baxter said Petrone's selection was made difficult by the quality of the other two candidates.
"The bad news was that we had three really good candidates, so it was hard to choose," Baxter said. "The good news is that we had three really good candidates to choose from."
Petrone, who has spent more than 25 years in education, previously served as assistant superintendent of Sweetwater County School District No. 1, in Rock Springs, Wyo., and as an administrator of an American international school in Jakarta, Indonesia, for 11 years.
Baxter said she preferred Petrone because he represented a new direction for the School District.
"It was a tough decision, but the main reason I support Joe Petrone is because he brings a new vision and new thinking to education," Baxter said. "He understands where we are as a district, and I think he knows how to make it better."
Petrone's different view of education is what appealed to board member Trish Snyder.
"I'm choosing Joe Petrone because I believe he can take the district in the right direction," Snyder said. "He brings a global, 21st Century framework, and he adds a vitality to it."
Board president Rod Durham said he was impressed with all three candidates.
"All three were good candidates, but only one could be great," Durham said. "And that's why I'm picking Joe."
Petrone's energy and excitement for education was contagious, board member Sandie Johns said.
"Joe has already brought so much excitement to the district," Johns said. "Teachers, parents, and students were all energized when he came for his interview."
Andrea Camp, School Board vice president, was part of the search committee for the new superintendent.
"I had an advantage because I had a first-hand account with each of the candidates' contacts and references," Camp said. "All three had excellent references, but I am choosing Joe.
"In the interviews, he conveyed an excitement and enthusiasm about teaching."
Baxter said Petrone's knowledge of assessment within his staff pushed him towards the top of the group.
"Assessing and reviewing within the School District is something he has done before," she said. "It's not that the other candidates haven't as well, but he was the strongest of the three."
Snyder said Petrone's readiness was another factor in her decision.
"I think the thing that stood out the most for me during the interview was how ready he was to start," she said. "I know he would be ready to jump in with both feet."
Villard said she respected the School Board's decision.
"The School Board had a tough decision to find the best selection, and I think they did," Villard said. "I'm looking forward to getting to know Joe."