Christine Villard, the Moffat County School District’s assistant superintendent, said she’s leaving her post later this year.
“We’re moving to the Front Range,” she said.
Villard has been the school district’s assistant superintendent since July 2008. Her resignation is effective July 1.
Villard, who holds a doctorate in school psychology from the University of Denver, has worked in education for 31 years. She has worked in the district’s administration building for the past seven years, first as director of student services.
In 2008, she was promoted to assistant superintendent.
In 2009, Villard was a finalist for superintendent, but the post went to current superintendent Joe Petrone.
Villard said her decision to leave Moffat County was difficult.
“There are lots of reasons to stay and lots of reasons to go,” she said. “It’s a hard decision. I’ve really enjoyed living in Moffat County and working in the school district.
“It’s hard. It’s hard to move. It’s hard to leave.”
Villard said her husband, Lynn Villard, spends much of his time traveling between the Front Range and Moffat County for work. The couple has a daughter who lives in Fort Collins.
For those reasons, it made sense to relocate, she said.
“I like the job,” Villard said. “And, if circumstances hadn’t changed for us personally, I would have stayed in the job and enjoyed it very much.”
The job description for assistant superintendent has evolved over the past three years, Villard said. The emphasis used to be on the district’s curriculum, but the state legislature has largely assumed those duties.
“(Curriculum) is less of a focus, because we have to teach to the state standards, which are well written and very specific,” she said. “So, now the role is more about staying apprised of the legislative pieces, the accountability pieces, and training people.”
Part of the legislation includes Senate Bill 163, which was passed in 2009. The bill created an accountability system for state educators.
In this relatively new environment, Villard said an assistant superintendent should have a fondness for numbers and analyzing student achievement scores.
“I think someone who is savvy at data, likes looking at data and likes problem solving would be a good replacement,” she said.
Petrone agreed that the position has indeed changed.
“It was a natural offshoot of the accountability measures that were passed in the legislature — Senate Bill 163,” he said. “And, Christine has been extraordinarily able to see that transition through.”
Petrone said he is sorry to see Villard leave, but he is happy for her at the same time.
“She will be profoundly missed,” he said.
Petrone said the district has begun a regional search for a replacement through the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Association of School Executives. The job will be posted until March 14.
In the meantime, Petrone said he’s pleased Villard will finish the school year.
“We look forward to continuing to rely on her professional wisdom, and her deep dedication to her students and staff,” Petrone said. “We’re fortunate to have her advice and counsel as the school year progresses through turbulent budget times.”
Villard said she has no immediate plans for future employment, but is excited by the possibilities.
“I’m thinking I might like to do something different, maybe going into school psychology and working with kids and families and teachers — getting back closer to the classroom,” she said. “But, who knows?”
Villard said the relocation won’t keep her away from Moffat County entirely.
“We have family in the area,” she said. “We’ll be coming back all the time. We’ll get to see people in the grocery stores.”
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