For newly appointed Moffat County School District superintendent Joseph Petrone, getting to know Craig is easy. Even from 275 miles away.
The Moffat County School Board unanimously offered the superintendent position to Petrone during its meeting Thursday night.
Petrone, 56, said he learned about the School Board's decision on Friday morning and accepted the offer. He said he was excited about his new position and the new community.
For now, Petrone, who lives in Pinedale, Wyo., has to settle for seeing his new home on a computer screen.
"I'm actually planning my next visit," Petrone said. "I'm on the City of Craig Web site, looking at the Community Indicator report, and researching the area."
Petrone said he has been studying the community since he began his quest to replace Pete Bergmann, the current superintendent, who is retiring in June.
Petrone was selected instead of Christine Villard, the district's current assistant superintendent, and Dennis Wilson, the former superintendent of Uinta County School District No. 1 in Evanston, Wyo.
"I've been invited to the April board meeting, so near the end of the month, I am going to make a trip down there, maybe talk to some Realtors - I might take some virtual tours," Petrone said. "But, I'm also going to get out and talk with teachers, students, members of the community and the administrative staff."
Petrone said the quality of the schools in the area was what interested him when he applied for the job.
"Moffat County has a high-quality reputation for education," he said. "And I am excited at the opportunity to be a part of that reputation and to move the district forward."
When he becomes the superintendent July 1, Petrone won't make any sudden changes.
"My first objective would be to find the strengths, and improve upon them, while correcting the weaknesses," he said. "For the last seven years, there has been an extremely effective and successful superintendent in Pete, and I want to see what made him so successful."
Petrone said one of his first priorities is to be as visible as possible.
"I need to be available - to the press, to the community, students and teachers," he said. "I want people to know that I'm here."
Petrone will become familiar with the School District before he makes any changes.
"One of the first things I will look to do is sit down with members of the School Board, and other constituents, who put together a summary of what they want to see in a superintendent, and do more listening than talking," he said.
"I'll need to observe, and collect feedback from the principals so we can work together effectively to provide the most opportunities for growth from our students."
Becoming superintendent is something Petrone has wanted during his 25 years in education.
"It's a position I've wanted for most of my career," Petrone said.
When he becomes a citizen of Craig, Petrone won't just focus on the schools.
"I want to talk with community leaders, as well," he said. "Because businesses and industries will look to our schools as a recruiting tool. They, like everyone else, want good schools."
Being in Craig was more than a professional decision for Petrone.
"It's the right thing for me both professionally and personally to move to Craig," Petrone said. "My sons are in Colorado, so I will be bringing the family closer together."
Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org