Scott Crane took over as superintendent of the Grand County School District on July 1. Margaret Hopkin retired on June 30 after more than 30 years in the district. (Courtesy photo)

Progress is ahead for the Grand County School District.

But don’t worry about sweeping changes immediately.

The district has a new superintendent in Scott Crane. The former leader of schools in Blackfoot, Idaho, took over the Grand County position on July 1.

The new leader intends to learn the lay of the land before starting to implement new programs or practices.

Crane’s plans for the school district include creating professional learning communities in the schools to help better prepare students for the real world and updating the math and language arts common core curriculum to help improve low test scores.

Helping the school board and other district leaders figure out what to do about the middle school is also high on his list. The middle school building is aging and either needs significant renovations or to be torn down and rebuilt.

Some of Crane’s other plans include updating district policies and increasing community involvement in the education of area youth.

But, Crane said, his plans will only be possible with help from the rest of the district.

“Your school board is working very hard,” he said. “They’re very knowledgeable. I’m just pleased with your personnel.”

Crane is also impressed with Helen M. Knight Elementary and the other newer school buildings such as the high school.

“You have wonderful facilities,” he said. “They’re beautiful. They fit the surroundings and don’t stand out like a school. They look more like an architectural part of the community.”

Crane has almost 30 years of experience in schools, especially in administration. He was superintendent of the Blackfoot School District for the last five years before moving to Moab. He has also worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of district finance, director of secondary education and assistant superintendent. He has diverse experience in education at every level and is confident in his ability to perform his job well, he said.

Since taking over, Crane has focused on learning all he can about the school district. It is important, he said, for him to learn about the strengths and constraints of Grand County before he implements any specific changes.

“You can’t come in and try to fit the things you learned in a former district into your new district,” he said. “That’s not going to work.”

Crane has already spent much of his time meeting principals and teachers, and he says that he plans on spending a lot of time in the schools, meeting the students and getting a more complete view of the district.

Crane has an open door policy and is eager to hear ideas and receive input from the community. He encourages those interested in meeting with him to call the district office at 435-259-5317 to schedule a time to talk.