Three Moffat County School District superintendent finalists meet virtually with the public |

Three Moffat County School District superintendent finalists meet virtually with the public

Dan England / Craig Press
Moffat County School District

The three vying for Superintendent of the Moffat County School District were all recent finalists for a similar position in Colorado mountain towns. On Friday, one of them will no longer be the bridesmaid.

The school board will name a new superintendent Friday around 5 p.m. after conducting interviews that were open to the public via Zoom.

Dawn Pare and Walter Coulter were both superintendent finalists for the Telluride School District in late February, and Gerald Chandler was a finalist for the Montrose County School District in late March.

The three candidates met virtually for 15 minutes with the public Thursday evening.

Dawn Pare works as chief academic officer at Weld Re 1, which serves residents of the small towns of Platteville, Gilcrest and LaSalle. That’s why she wants to come to Craig. Pare grew up in northern Vermont in a rural area and spent time in Eagle County during her 15 years of living in Colorado. She’s worked for Weld since 2017.

“I was interested in the small family community environment,” Pare said. “I treasure that in Weld. I wanted a place I could call home, and Craig is one of those places that would fit that.”

Pare also worked for five years for the Colorado Department of Education on teacher effectiveness, traveling the entire state, including Craig. She loves the outdoors and would enjoy the opportunities the western slope provides. She was happy to meet with the public, even if it was virtually.

“Hopefully if this works out,” she said, “we will have lots of chances to talk together.”

Walter Coulter spent many years overseas for the Department of Defense, but he grew up on the Western Slope and would love to return home.

“This was an opportunity to return to the Western Slope,” Coulter said, “back to an area I love.”

Coulter works as the education program administrator for the Bureau of Indian Education in Window Rock, New Mexico, a position he’s held since 2016, and he also worked as a school principal in the U.S. and overseas. He’s ready to return to public education.

“The pandemic forces districts to look at how we run public education and be prepared for any emergency in the future,” Coulter said. He also said buildings should now be built to accommodate those changes in the next 25 years, when education will look much different.

“This changes the dialogue of education permanently,” Coulter said of the virus.

That also means districts should be prepared for the emotional toll the virus takes on their students.

“When family members start passing away, there’s an emotional toll we haven’t felt yet,” he said. “That’s something we will have to prepare for in the fall.”

Gerald Chandler spent his 26 years in two school districts in southeast Texas.

“Longevity in a school district is something I seek,” Chandler said.

Chandler joined the Lumberton Independent School District to start an agricultural program, a program he taught for 12 years. He worked as assistant and acting superintendent before the board named him superintendent in 2018. He resigned from that position in March.

He said he and his wife, a band conductor, were tired of living in southeast Texas, where it is often hot and humid.

“Our 4-wheelers stay in the garage most of the time,” he said. “We want to live in Colorado every year. We just like to have fun and be in the outdoors.”

His longtime motto, he said, was “I never forget I was a teacher.” He prefers to let teachers do their job, he said, while he handles legislative mandates that can slow down their progress. He also said he’s ready to get back to “the old normal.”

“It’s been difficult for parents to teach kids,” he said. “When kids do come back there will be gaps, and we will need to fill those gaps and move forward.”

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