‘It’s certainly been challenging’: Scott Pankow reflects on first two months as MCSD Superintendent
It’s been a whirlwind two months on the job for Moffat County School District Superintendent Scott Pankow, one that no amount of education or experience could prepare him for.
He’s taking it all in stride though as he adjusts to a new job in a new community.
“You know, it’s been great so far,” Pankow said from his office at the district’s administrative building. “It’s certainly been challenging, no doubt, with what we’re up against, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in the community who’ve been very welcoming.”
It’s not surprising to hear the new superintendent mention the nice community members he’s met in his short time here, nor is it surprising to hear that his educational values align with the direction the district is heading.
The real challenge ahead for Pankow is twofold: ensuring the safety and security of students and staff in the midst of a global pandemic, and a potential bond issue for the district in hopes of getting another generation out of the current buildings.
That’s some job opening to step into, huh?
“I’ve said this to some board members…I could not imagine being a first-year superintendent – not just here – anywhere in this time,” Pankow said. “Having experience really helped me step into this role and adjust on the fly. I just could not imagine having no experience and trying to navigate this.
“I’ve had some colleagues across the state ask me how I’m doing this, and I’ve said to them ‘thank you for asking and recognizing how difficult this is’ because it is very difficult,” Pankow added. “You’re trying to build relationships and really understand the idiosyncrasies of the district and what’s going on while also trying to hear the needs of the public. But at the same time we’re trying to get a project out. It’s been tough, but I’m very proud of the work the staff has done to this point.”
Despite the challenges Pankow has faced early into his tenure as superintendent, the challenges haven’t discouraged him from putting his vision into place for the district.
Entering his 11th year as a superintendent following a decade in Ouray, Pankow knows it won’t be a normal school year, but believing that education is the core of minds that created our society, Pankow is going to try and drive education forward in Moffat County while hoping to shape and educate the next generation of workers in Moffat County.
“I think the kids in the school district can play a big part in the shifting economic picture,” Pankow said. “When I meet with people, they are so proud to be part of this community. We know mining and the power plant are going way, so it’s really up to us as a school district to really prepare that next generation of workers and the economic development of that.
“That’s something I really worked on at other districts, building those relationships and partnerships with local business and business communities, figuring out what type of workers they needed and really building the kids that want to stay here and build a foundation here locally.”
Building up that next generation of workers will take some time – and some normalcy within the schools moving forward. For now, Pankow has to worry about a potential bond issue for the district, and needs to make sure he’s up to date on the latest changes from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment when it comes to in-person learning this school year.
It’s a challenging year that lies ahead for Pankow as the Superintendent, but one he’s excited to take on for Moffat County.
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