New Moffat County High School principal pulls out of job Friday | CraigDailyPress.com

New Moffat County High School principal pulls out of job Friday

Superintendent: District will create interim position while searching for new hire

A new development could put Moffat County School DistrictMoffat County School District in a tricky situation for the coming months. in a tricky situation for the coming months.

Moffat County School District in a tricky situation for the coming months.

After being announced Thursday night as the new principal of Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School, Tim McNerney pulled out of the position Friday due to “a very serious family matter,” according to MCSD superintendent David Ulrich., Tim McNerney pulled out of the position Friday due to “a very serious family matter,” according to MCSD superintendent David Ulrich.

Moffat County High School, Tim McNerney pulled out of the position Friday due to “a very serious family matter,” according to MCSD superintendent David Ulrich.

Ulrich said he would not divulge the personal details of McNerney’s situation but that he believed the candidate had little choice given a “truly unfortunate set of circumstances.”

“Whenever you’re hiring somebody, you put yourself out there like that, and unfortunately, he was unable to accept that position,” Ulrich said.

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McNerney was most recently the assistant principal for Green Mountain High School with Jefferson County Public Schools.

Upon receiving the news, Ulrich alerted school board members about an alternative plan, which is to look at setting up an interim principal position for MCHS.

“Given how late it is in the hiring process, that would be the best plan moving forward,” he said. “The fact is, we’re now in timeframe where candidates would have been expected to have started with their school districts.”

Ulrich said there are no candidates in mind at this time for an interim job with MCHS but that the interim period could last as long as a full school year if necessary.

“I don’t want to commit to that, but the timing would be better so that the applicant pool could be as deep as possible,” he said. “In mid-July, it’s not going to be very deep.”

Ulrich said the focus will be “finding the strongest leader possible.”

“That’s what we owe to our kids and to our staff,” he said.

As a new hire himself for the district, Ulrich addressed many pressing issues for Moffat County this week. During his first school board work session on Thursday, he stressed his desire to work on what he called a "strategic planning process."

"I am a big believer in an umbrella document that is chartered and commissioned by the board," he said, noting that such a document can "paint the lines for how we're going to go about making decisions with regard to using our resources."

He said the document would "ultimately be approved by the board."

Ulrich said he's observed success with strategic plans at other districts, such as at North Kansas City Schools, where he served as deputy director of secondary education before becoming superintendent in Moffat County last month. He described a "strong five-year plan," with focus areas and goals, and he noted the importance of working on "year-over-year goals" throughout that period.

"It would be a living document," he told the school board, "that this group would be expected to go through and monitor, evaluate and adjust."

Board Member Darryl Steele connected the plan to superintendent evaluations.

"This would be a really good way for the board of education to be able to evaluate the superintendent," Steele said. Ulrich agreed.

Ulrich said the document could contain focus areas crafted by the board of education and refined by a planning group. Such a planning group, he said, could contain about 35 to 40 people to help shape the strategic plan. He envisioned a group that would include two school board members, along with teachers, parents, administrators and other community members.

"In the best example I ever saw, there were two students who sat in the group," he said.

He stressed the importance of students’ perspectives.

"Their voice is invaluable," Ulrich said of students. "It was fascinating to watch the group, and when the kids talked, everybody listened. So I would absolutely want to identify two, maybe three, kids who would be able to dedicate themselves to be part of this process."

Ulrich also talked with the board about the subject of communication.

"One of the things that I really am going to work doing is creating an atmosphere where, within our organization, whether it's teachers or administrators, that they follow the chain of command, for lack of a better term," he said.

Ulrich talked to the board about encouraging people to try to resolve problems at their sources.

"If a community comes to you in your role as a board member, please refer … a parent back to a teacher, a parent back to a principal," he said.

He noted, too, his own role in communication.

"I really want to create that atmosphere where folks feel like my door is open," he said. "They feel like they can have open conversations with me, and feel that they've had a voice in my office."

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