“I gave them a verbal acceptance...,” Crane said in a Tuesday evening phone interview with The Times-Independent. “A lot of our [family] ties are in Utah and my wife is from Utah... We’re excited. We’re just really happy and looking forward to becoming part of the community.”
Crane, 56, has served the past five years as the superintendent of the Blackfoot School District. He has 26 years of administrative experience within that district, serving as the assistant superintendent for 10 years prior to becoming superintendent. He also has been the district’s director of finance, director of secondary education, an assistant principal and a principal during his 34-year career in Idaho. Cane announced his retirement from the Blackfoot School District earlier this year but said he wants to stay involved in public education.
He said he is retiring in Idaho because he has worked the required number of years in the state’s education system to qualify for retirement.
“I’m just retiring from education in Idaho because I can,” Crane said. “But I didn’t want to stop serving communities.”
Crane said he plans to attend the school board’s May 16 meeting “to observe and support,” and he and his wife, who is a kindergarten teacher in Idaho, will begin looking for a home in the Moab area. The couple hopes to move to Moab by June 1, he said.
“As soon as we can find a home then we’re moving because I want to be part of the community,” Crane said.
Describing his management style as “cooperative leadership,” Crane stressed the importance of keeping community members and professionals involved with the school district. He said his first priority will be to get up to speed on Grand County School District operations and familiarizing himself with Utah’s education system.
“I’m well qualified to do this job. In my years of experience in education there’s not a lot I haven’t seen,” Crane said. “But I’m always open. I always listen and I like to work with the community.”
The search for Hopkin’s replacement began in January, after Hopkin announced her retirement. The school board initiated a public input process to help determine what qualifications community members felt were most important in the candidates.
Strong leadership and communication skills, financial management experience, commitment to student achievement and the ability to bring together diverse perspectives to make tough, controversial decisions topped the list, the school board said in a news release this week.
Eight people applied for the position, and subcommittees made up of the school board, along with community members, business leaders, teachers and staff reviewed the applications and narrowed the candidate field. A committee interviewed the five finalists last week, officials said.
“I’m just so relieved... that we found a candidate that has significant experience in public schools and really just clicks with each of the qualifications that we worked on with the sub-committees and with community input,” board member Beth Joseph said.
Board president Jim Webster said Crane’s skills and experience will be a good fit.
“We were looking for a clone of superintendent Hopkin,” Webster said. “We did not find that. We found somebody who has lots of skills and abilities that complement what we’re already doing. I think that what Dr. Crane can bring into our school district will enhance the direction we are already going.”
Hopkin agreed. “I’m very impressed with Dr. Crane,” she said. “I feel very confident that, not only will he be able to step in and transition smoothly, but he’s bringing his new ideas and a wealth of experience. I think we’ve found not only a fit, but someone who will take us beyond where we are.”
Though his retirement from the Blackfoot School District is effective June 30, Crane said he will split his time between Idaho and Moab so that he can work with Hopkin prior to her retirement.
Only three board members were present for the special meeting. Board member Deb Hren recused herself from the search due to a personal relationship with one of the applicants for the position, and board member Ron Olsen was out of town. However, the remaining three members voted unanimously to hire Crane.