Changes at the top: Moffat County School Board president plans to step down in November | CraigDailyPress.com

Changes at the top: Moffat County School Board president plans to step down in November

Darrell Camilletti

Candidate nominations for Moffat County School District Board of Education are closing at the end of the week, and with five seats up for election there will be changes starting at the top.

Board President Darrell Camilletti has decided not to run for re-election when his term expires in November.

Camilletti, a 1969 graduate of Moffat County High School, won his seat on the board in 2013, garnering more than 57 percent of the vote to beat then incumbent Christine Balderston to represent District 6.

He believes that schools are the foundation of the community, and that if the schools can be improved, so too, will the community improve.

"The first thing you need to do to make a difference is to be involved," Camilletti said after the election in 2013.

It's a statement he still believes in and throughout the year he has encouraged other residents to consider serving on the board.

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Camilletti is a managing member for Mountain West Insurance & Financial Services, LLC. He decided not to run for re-election for two reasons.

"The No. 1 reason is that the business is consuming more of my time. It is growing very rapidly and I have to dedicate my time to it. Secondly, I am too impatient with the pace of change in the school system. It is going to take younger, more patient people to see it through long term," he said.

We caught up with Camilletti to learn more about his years of services and what he sees as some of the biggest challenges facing public education.

What were your goals in becoming a school board member?

You always have ambitious goals, but it was to improve the opportunities for the school kids of Moffat County, educationally. I believed the school system was small enough that if we could engage the community there was real potential to make significant change and growth.

Do you feel these goals were accomplished?

No. I'm disappointed that I didn't see more improvement. I believe some things have been put in place that have the potential to have longer term results. The elementary reading curriculum will have an impact. My frustration is that we have kids moving on every year that didn't get the advantage of that.

What would you have liked to see more improvement in?

How do we get these kids excited to come here? We have to have an administration and staff that are excited in making a difference in their lives, helping them learn good values and educating them.

What do you feel was the board's greatest accomplishment while you were on the board?

Recognizing that we could balance the budget and have excess funds to provide increases in compensation, benefits and building improvements. Also, the hiring of Dr. (David) Ulrich because I believe he sincerely cares about making a difference and ultimately will implement the necessary changes that could result in better outcomes for the kids.

What projects do you feel are unfinished?

I guess one of the things I would really like to see is the community and county collectively come together and identify the best utilization of our resources and see what is going to make a difference in our community long-term. I think the only way it's going to happen is to have exceptional leadership by members of the community, school board and hospital administrators, county commissioners and city managers. They are going to have to agree on what needs to happen and in what order. And everyone is going to have to confront the brutal facts of what they need to do to make it happen.

What do you see are the next big challenges for the school board?

The challenge is that they have to recognize there is enough money, if they manage it correctly. They have to look at a bigger picture. They have to look at what it's going to take in the long run to support education in this community. Technology is going to offer great change resulting in kids being able to take classes from home. I hope the new board and administration take a serious look at scripting a plan that takes all that into consideration.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for public education?

I think the biggest challenge is recognizing that you have to change. Public education is very slow to change, very reluctant to change and is resistant to competition.

What advice do you have for new board members?

I think to engage the position enthusiastically, work closely with other board members and the administration, and also understand that you have to assert yourself when you believe in something. Don't just go in and raise your hand “yes” on every vote without questioning and understanding that it meets what you and your constituents believe. You are serving your constituents, and if you loose sight of that you shouldn't serve. Transparency should never be compromised, as hidden agendas are dangerous to the welfare of the district.

In the future, I hope the next board takes a look at at-large districts. I hope the board considers to moving to at-large board seats. I don't see any value in representing a district. I should not represent East any different than I represent Sunset, Sandrock or Ridgeview. You have to have involvement, and the best solution is not to appoint new board members but to have them elected by the community.

Will you continue to support public education in our community and if yes, how?

Yes, because I believe it's necessary. I will do so by speaking out publicly on issues that I believe need to be addressed.

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about the district or the board?

This is a small district and the board should be able to have an impact if they work closely with the administration and not compromise their beliefs and always recognize that they represent the community.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

How to run for a seat on the school board

Five of seven school board seats are up for election in November. The school district is still seeking people interested in running for office. Petitions are due Sept. 1.

Seats up for election:

District 1: Originally filled by Darryle Steele, currently filled by interim board member Chip McIntyre who was appinted to the position in August. 

District 2: Sue Voloshin

District 4: Tony Peroulis

District 6: Darrell Camilletti

District 7: Originally filled by Charity Neal, currently filled by interim board member Chris Thome who was appointed to the position in June.

 Candidates interested in running for office must be:

• a resident of the school district and a registered voter, as shown on the books of the county clerk and recorder, for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the election

• 18 years or older by the date of the election

• a citizen of the United States

• a resident of the director district in which he or she is a candidate non-partisan

• any person who has been convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or received a deferred • judgment or sentence or is the subject of a pending charge for commission of a sexual offense against a child is ineligible for election to a school district board of education.

“It is important that the candidate be sincerely and honestly interested in serving the whole school district for the best interests of all children,” states the district policy on board member qualifications.

Candidate packets are available from the Heather Higgins at the School District. Petitions are due by Sept. 1. For more information call Heather Higgins at 970-824-3268 to obtain a petition go to 775 Yampa Ave., Craig.