New Moffat County School District superintendent dives into duties | CraigDailyPress.com

New Moffat County School District superintendent dives into duties

David Ulrich began work on Thursday; on Monday he met with high school principal candidates

Michael Neary

David Ulrich, the new Moffat County School District superintendent, converses with people on Monday morning at the high school during a meet-and-greet-session for high school principal candidates.

— David Ulrich began his work as superintendent of the Moffat County School District on Thursday, and on Monday he plunged into a crucial task.

The district is hiring a high school principal to fill the vacancy created by Kelly McCormick's departure — and on Monday, candidates came to town for a round of interviews.

"I know that this position matters," Ulrich said Monday morning, before a meet-and-greet session with the candidates. "If we get this right, if we get a great fit for Moffat County School District and the high school, I know that outcomes will improve for kids."

That last phrase, he said, is one that he uses frequently.

"It's about improving outcomes for kids, regardless of what we're talking about in the organization," he said.

Ulrich comes to the district from North Kansas City Schools, in Missouri, where he was the deputy director of secondary education.

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Ulrich described some qualities he's watching for in the next high school principal.

"I want somebody that is able to build relationships," he said. "If you have a foundation of solid, positive relationships, you can lead a group of teachers and other staff members and students in such a way that student achievement improves."

The need for an "instructional leader" is something Ulrich also noted. He described the process of developing a clear strategy to achieve a particular set of goals. He said he also wanted to hear about how candidates handled times when things didn't work out as planned — and when a principal worked together with teachers but "didn't hit the mark that they wanted."

"How you react to that is just as important, or more important, than shaking hands when you do get it right," he said.

Ulrich said the candidates would meet on Monday with groups of teachers, students and parents, as well as the school district's administrative team and senior leadership team.

Ulrich said the senior leadership team — of which he is a part — would ultimately make a recommendation to the Board of Education, drawing from notes and feedback from the other groups.

Ulrich will soon be digging into other hiring projects, as well, including a search for a principal at Ridgeview Elementary School and a high school athletic director.

Early Monday morning, as Ulrich contemplated the upcoming hiring decisions, he also reflected on ways to enhance communication within the district. He noted the importance of "establishing a level of trust" that would facilitate "open communication" between the superintendent and other school district members. He also noted the obligation of the superintendent "to communicate with the board of education and to be just as proactive as you can possibly be."

He described, too, the key role of a school board meeting.

"A well-run, organized board of education meeting is hard work," he said. "And that work has got to be done ahead of time."

He said that preparation would largely "fall on me" as superintendent, and he noted — as an example — the importance of helping school district members to hone public presentations "through the lens not only of the board of education but also the public."

Ulrich acknowledged it was only his third official day on the job Monday, but he said he's been in close contact with Morris Ververs, who was acting as interim superintendent before Ulrich began work. He said he's working to get to know the board of education and to meet people in the schools and other corners of the district.

"I think the biggest key is that I make myself available to folks, to reach out to them and invite them into my office or meet them where they work," he said. And just as important, he added, is "responding when people reach out to me."

On Friday, he said, he received a phone call about a 5-kilometer run conducted by Friends of Moffat County Education.

"So my wife and I walked it," he said, and then added with a chuckle: "I won't lie and say we ran it, but we walked in that 5K and had the opportunity to meet with people that way, as well."

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