Garfield County School District Re-2 superintendent applies for new job |

Garfield County School District Re-2 superintendent applies for new job

Dale Shrull
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE ” Dr. Gary Pack is happy where he’s at, but when an opportunity to return home comes up, it’s tough to look away.

The Garfield County School District Re-2 superintendent recently interviewed for the Washington County Tennessee director of schools position.

On Monday, Pack said the lure of home is powerful. He said his 88-year-old mother, his brother and two children still live in Tennessee, and it’s difficult to visit them consistently.

In a story on Sunday from the Johnson City Press, it was reported that Pack is one of four finalists for the position. A decision on the job could be made today.

Re-2 School Board President Jay Rickstrew said he knew about Pack’s interview and is hoping that he will stay with the Re-2 district.

“It would be a great loss. I’ve had a great working relationship with him, and he’s led us through a time of great growth and has done a great job,” Rickstrew said.

Pack, whose wife is a teacher in the school district, said family is the reason why he interviewed.

“(Tennessee) is my home, and all our family is located there. We knew as a family that at some point in time if there was an opportunity to go back that we’d look into it. We love it here and would be happy to stay here if that’s what happens,” Pack said.

Pack has a contract with the school district through 2011 but can leave at any time if he chooses.

According to Pack, his current annual salary is $128,000. Washington County could not confirm what the salary would be for the next director of schools, only saying that it would be negotiated through the school board. An official with Washington County said that the retiring director of schools makes around $125,000 a year.

According to their website, Washington County Schools has a total of 12 schools with two high schools.

Pack’s experience was touted in the Johnson City Press article, including the fact that he’s very familiar with East Tennessee, having served as director of schools in Blount County from 1998-2001. Pack was also named Tennessee Superintendent of the Year in 2001 by the Tennessee Association of Administrators.

Pack came to Re-2 in 2001. He said he’s very proud of what he’s brought the district, calling the school district’s accomplishments and the support of the community “a joy.”

Since his arrival, he said that the school district has made more than $145 million in additions and improvements to school facilities.

In another Johnson City Press article, Pack touted his fiscal experience during the job interview: “Everyone in Washington County wants a good school system, we have high expectations and a lot of needs because the children and the teachers are too important. And (whatever funding we ask for), it will be justified. I have no problem justifying it.

“With 15 years of doing budgets and school finance in three states, there’s not going to be much that I haven’t seen before,” said Pack in the article.

He also promoted his belief of a strong education background for all students.

“Every child should have the option to attend college, but the standard should be competitively high,” Pack said in the article. “But let me say that using your hands is an honest trade and an honest way to make a living. … The way I look at it is that our schools should prepare our students either to go to college, go into a vocational/technical field of study, go into the military, or go to work.

“We have in my current school system (Re-2) the largest vo/ag program in the state of Colorado, and I believe that the standards in these courses should be just as strong as those who are wanting to go to college.”

Rickstrew said if Pack is offered and accepts the job, the school district will start a search for a replacement as soon as possible.

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