Incoming superintendent talks with Moffat County Board of Education |

Incoming superintendent talks with Moffat County Board of Education

David Ulrich visits via Skype with Morris Ververs, interim superintendent, and Moffat County Board of Education members

Michael Neary

— Members of the Moffat County Board of Education met with incoming Superintendent David Ulrich via Skype Friday morning, reviewing a list of recommendations prepared by Morris Ververs, acting as the district’s interim superintendent.

The school board approved Ulrich’s contract Thursday night, and he’s slated to start work later this month.

Early in the conversation, Ververs discussed a possible way of developing a strategic plan for the district. He mentioned bringing together “40 or 45 individuals that are highly representative of every nook and cranny in the school district,” including city and county officials.

Ververs said such a group would celebrate the work the Moffat County School District has done in the past and is doing today, and it would also spend time focusing “on what we want this school district to look like in five years.”

He noted a key potential benefit to the endeavor.

“It might be a venue to mend the fences that exist between the school district and the community,” Ververs said.

Also under discussion were ways to heal divisions between the board and district staff members — and ways to resolve problems within the district. Ververs noted the importance of attempting to solve problems at their source, rather than looking initially to an outside authority such as a school board member.

Ulrich concurred.

“It’s not our first inclination to redirect,” Ulrich said. “It’s our first inclination to own it and want to fix it. And that is a natural tendency; it’s a very positive tendency, but at the same time, in an organizations with multiple layers, we don’t want to circumvent or skip over those layers at any point.”

One challenge Ulrich said he will face as superintendent is determining when a problem “needs to be redirected” and when it needs to be addressed by the superintendent.

The conversation also turned to school board meetings.

“Nothing does more and says more to the community about a board-superintendent relationship than a well-run, seamless board meeting,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich noted that it’s important for people to feel free to speak at board meetings, but he also stressed the key role that other lines of communication play.

“If I’ve got folks who … feel as if their only voice is to come to a board meeting, then I’ve got to look inward,” he said. “I’ve got to look at my team and say, ‘How are we not connecting with these folks and involving them in the process?’”

Board members also brainstormed about tasks that lie ahead. Board Member Darryl Steele and Board Vice President JoBeth Tupa discussed the need to work on communication.

“We’re not doing a very good job of articulating what’s coming out of our district and where we’re headed,” Tupa said.

Board Member Tony Peroulis added, “People have to want to be informed, too. There’s information there. They’ve got to want to be involved.”

Ulrich, as he discussed various possible projects with the district, returned to one concept.

“You’ll hear me use this term a million times — you’ll get sick of it: Is the idea always to produce the best outcome for kids?”

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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