Moffat County School Board starts superintendent search

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Joe Petrone

— The Moffat County School District Board of Education took the first steps in seeking out a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Joe Petrone during a special meeting Thursday afternoon at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

The board is in the initial stages of finding an agency to assist it in the search to fill the administrative position, hearing presentations from two agencies: Colorado Association of School Boards and Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates Executive Search. Board members will determine which organization’s services they will retain as the process continues.

Although no definitive decision was reached at the meeting, CASB and HYA gave the board plenty to think about, detailing what kind of assistance they can offer in the coming months. The search includes advertising the job on a state and national level, sorting through the best candidates for superintendent, running background checks, organizing interviews and many other details for which the district could use a helping hand.

MCSD last used the services of HYA when they hired Petrone in 2009. Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates is centered in Rosemont, Ill., but representatives handle searches all across the country.

CASB meanwhile, works with a large network of school districts across the state.

Bob Cito, CASB’s special projects consultant, stressed the importance of getting a great deal of input from within the district and community while undertaking the job of filling the superintendent position.

“We want to identify what the focus of the search should be — who and what qualities you’re looking for,” he said.

Board member JB Chapman said whichever service the board selects should be aware of the issues faced by Moffat County in the field of education.

“I think we need to find who we feel most comfortable with,” he said. “I think they’re both very strong companies and they’re good at what they do.”

Petrone, who announced his resignation in August, was on hand for the meeting. Although he will not have as much input as board members about who takes on his job, his thoughts about recruiting companies will be invaluable as the board narrows down its choices at this stage.

He also likely will help his replacement transition into the job when the time comes, as he prepares to leave in June 2014.

“Whatever the board wishes me to do, I will do,” he said.

The search for Petrone’s successor comes at an unusual time for the Board of Education, with the recent election bringing in four new board members, of whom Sue Voloshin, KC Hume and Tony Peroulis were in attendance at the meeting with those remaining on the previous board.

Voloshin said the process of interviewing individuals and organizations is something she already knows how to handle on a professional level.

“It’s a little different when you’re looking at it from a board perspective,” she said. “There’s lots of different ways in their presentation to go about" the search.

Newly elected members will be sworn in at the Board of Education’s Thursday meeting, at which time it also will select new officers. Outgoing board members also will offer their recommendations about which company would be best to hire for the superintendent search.

Chapman, Joel Browning and Tony St. John are the only remaining members of the previous board, and the three of them were present at the Thursday meeting.

St. John noted that the changing of the guard that seems to be occurring within the district has been somewhat difficult for him.

“I’m sad to see Joe go because he’s done a lot of good for the community,” he said.

Although she’s had less experience working with Petrone, Voloshin agreed that his imminent departure will be a bit of a downer, though whoever replaces him will have a wealth of resources from which to learn the details of the superintendent job.

“He’d make a great mentor for anyone,” she said.

The upcoming meeting will be the last for outgoing board President Sandie Johns, who also was part of the selection committee that hired Petrone several years ago. Although the decision between CASB and HYA will be out of her hands, she thinks either company would make a fine choice as the superintendent search continues with new board members.

“I think the community’s elected good people, and I’m very comfortable with where the board’s headed now,” she said.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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