There was a tinge of sadness among the members of the Moffat County School Board of Education when Superintendent Joe Petrone formally requested to end his tenure with the Moffat County School District a year early at the board's monthly meeting Thursday.
Petrone’s contract with the district was intended to run through the end of the 2014-15 school year. His reason for leaving the position sooner than he had intended is his desire to spend more time with family.
One focus in particular is his need to fulfill his role as a grandfather.
“All of a sudden, I’ve got three new granddaughters in three different states,” he said. “I need to be part of their lives.”
In a letter to board members, Petrone wrote he believed he could “endure the separation and infrequent visits” with children and grandchildren “for only one more school year.”
Board members approved his request to amend his contract to end June 30, 2014.
Board President Sandie Johns was somewhat taken aback discussing Petrone’s request, but she firmly agrees with his motivation for leaving the district early.
“I really don’t want to lose him, but in education, family comes first,” she said. “That’s what’s really important.”
Johns was part of the committee that hired Petrone as superintendent in 2009, a decision she believes has been very beneficial.
“I think he’s been an awesome addition to the district, and he’s presented a lot of new innovations and new directions,” she said.
The process of finding a new superintendent will take more than a few months, with the first step involving Moffat County board members consulting with the Colorado Association of School Boards.
“We’ll have to decide if we want to use CASB or hire an outside company,” Johns said. “After that decision is made, probably sometime toward the end of October, the search will start.”
Johns said those responsible for hiring someone for the position will “pare down” the list of candidates for a committee of educators and community members.
“My hope and Joe’s hope is that we have someone selected as soon as possible after the first of the year so that person can start to transition with Joe,” she said.
Since Petrone is not leaving effective immediately, he will be on hand to help his potential replacement ease into the job.
“That’s the single best way to hire somebody, when you have a few months to work together and have a seamless transition,” Johns said.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.