Editorial: Craig superintendent exemplifies leadership | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: Craig superintendent exemplifies leadership

Editorial BoardRenee Campbell, publisherJim Patterson, editorSasha Nelson, reporterBrian MacKenzie, community representativeShannon Moore, community representativeContact the Editorial Board at editor@CraigDailyPress.com.

… leadership and learning are indispensible to each other.

The foregoing words were borrowed from remarks prepared by President John F. Kennedy for delivery Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy, of course, never had the opportunity to speak those words, but they are just as true now as they were that fateful day more than half a century ago.

Leadership and learning are indispensible to each other.

That’s why we were so gratified to learn this week that the Moffat County School District Board of Education had decided to extend the contract of Superintendent Dave Ulrich for an additional three years.

Ulrich has been at the district’s helm nearly two years now, and his contract was set to automatically renew for another year on July 1. The board’s decision, however, establishes an addendum to the contract that will secure Ulrich’s services for three years —  through July 1, 2021.

“As a board, we made this offer because we believe we need some real consistency and leadership in this district,” said School Board President JoAnn Baxter, in announcing the decision. “One way to do that ties him (Ulrich) to a three-year contract and beat the average time superintendents serve in Colorado.”

We feel certain we are not alone in seeing this as a great thing. Effective, steady, leadership can be a transformative thing, and this adage has definitely proven true with regard to Ulrich. He has already accomplished a great many things here, and his leadership is making a real difference, both in our schools and in our community.

The district has weathered its share of storms in recent years, an unfortunate trend that culminated late last year when Ulrich and the school board were faced with a seemingly untenable dilemma — the prospect of closing one of the community’s four elementary schools. Neighborhood schools are an intrinsic part of a community’s identity, and the decision to close an elementary campus might easily have devolved into a morass of bitterness, harsh words and hurt feelings. It is a testament to Ulrich’s character that he was willing to tackle such a potentially devisive issue in the first place and that he handled the process with tact, sensitivity and frank, honest communication. He organized community meetings, he listened to the concerns of district patrons, he was always frank and open to all inquiries and, through his monthly column in this publication, he established a meaningful dialogue with the community.

In short, he wisely chose to create partners rather than adversaries and earned respect for himself through showing respect for others; in so doing, he handled an emotionally charged issue with a steady, yet gentle, hand, and we must say, his dedication to transparency and open communication is most refreshing.

In addition to his work in our schools, Ulrich has thrown himself into community service. He sits on the United Way board of directors, has been instrumental in the Craig rebranding effort, is active in the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, is participating in the Recreation Master Planning process and has emerged as a significant partner in the ongoing effort to improve and enhance broadband service in our area.

For all these reasons, we are thrilled to know Ulrich will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

We also commend the school board for its wisdom and vision in this matter. The directors certainly didn’t have to create a three-year contract for Ulrich, but they took the long view and opted for ongoing stability and leadership in our district.

We further offer our thanks to Ulrich for accepting the extension. His willingness to commit to our district — and our community — portends great things for the future of our schools.

We have no doubt that a person of Dave Ulrich’s talent would have very little trouble securing employment elsewhere, yet, he has chosen to remain here.

We couldn’t be happier.