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After five years as superintendent for Blackfoot School District School District 55 and a total of 26 years with the district, Scott Crane will sit behind his desk at the district office for the last time Thursday, tying up loose ends and saying goodbye to dear friends and colleagues that he has met along the way.
Crane announced his retirement from the Blackfoot School District last month and has accepted a position as superintendent at Grand County School District in Moab, Utah, where his position will start July 1. Crane, who holds a doctorate in education, has been superintendent in Blackfoot since 2007 and served as assistant superintendent for 10 years before that. He also worked as business manager for the school district and as principal of Mountain View Middle School and assistant principal of Blackfoot High School.
"I've had a good run here in Blackfoot but there's a lot of mixed emotions in leaving," Crane stated. "I'm going to miss all of the wonderful people I have met here."
Crane and his colleagues from the district office enjoyed a 'going away party' Tuesday afternoon. His administrative assistant of five years, Margaret Contor said "Crane will be missed."
"Scott had great vision for our district...a vision for how our students could be better and how our teachers could be better," Contor said. "He's a good man; I'm going to miss him."
While Crane's tasks and accomplishments were many throughout his years in Blackfoot, Crane said some of the highlights that stand out in his mind include seeing the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center come to fruition, maintaining the district's morale and finances during some 'very rough years,' seeing great academic improvement at the schools in the last five years and creating Mountain View Middle School.
"I believe I added some value to every position," Crane said. "A lot of great things were accomplished here."
Crane said he and his wife, Kathy Dickinson (a kindergarten teacher with a job waiting in Moab), are filled with energy and excitement about their move to Utah.
"Grand County is a good school district but not without its problems," Crane said. "Its financial challenges are similar to what we faced here."
Moab is a unique community (near the Colorado border) with a tourism-based economy, seasonal employment and a high transient population which can lead to high poverty rates and higher rates of teenage drug and alcohol abuse.
Grand County District school board president Jim Webster said, "Dr. Crane will enhance the direction we want to go with this school district. We're going down the right road..and we feel Dr. Crane is the right person to keep us in that direction. He understands rural communities and has significant experience in the public school systems. We are relieved that we found him."
In the meantime, Crane said their house in Blackfoot is up for sale and they are busy preparing for a yard sale this weekend to help lighten their load.
"We've hired a moving truck that charges by the pound so we're selling almost everything," his wife joked. "I wanted to sell the family photos but Scott won't let me."
Crane said they will head out of Blackfoot for the last time around mid-June but won't have much time for rest once they get to Moab.
"I'll start working right away," Crane said. "I already have state meetings scheduled for the third week of June."
Crane and his wife have two grown children (Lyndsey and Shawn) who were raised in Blackfoot (graduating from Blackfoot High School) and two grandchildren (Titus and Eldon). They are looking forward to spending time with their family at their new home in Moab.
Upon announcing his retirement from Blackfoot, Crane quoted Mark Twain, saying, "It's time to throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails, explore...dream...discover."
"I would like to thank all of my friends, colleagues, parents and students that I have interacted with through the years and wish them well in the future," he added.
Chad Struhs, assistant superintendent of Blackfoot School District will serve as interim superintendent until the Board of Trustees selects a replacement for Crane.