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New Superintendent set to look, listen as school year approaches

DRUMMOND - "Doing, Making, Creating and Playing."

That's the motto of newly hired Drummond Schools Superintendent Christina Barbachano. It echoes perfectly her desire to connect with each student and to make those connections meaningful.

When explaining her motto, Barbachano says, "Kids are kind of like ranch dogs. If you don't keep them busy, they will find jobs to do that you might not want them to do."

Barbachano replaces Bryan Kott, who departed last month for a new position as the Superintendent in Laurel.

With just two days under her belt, Barbachano has yet to develop any specific plans or changes for the school. Her initial action appears to be one of watching, listening and learning what's going on at the school and why. When asked about communicating with the public, she responded with, "It's integral.

"Parents are the first teachers of their kids. So it's really important to have them be involved and stay involved in their kids' education. There's always going to be a parent, or a couple of parents, that had a bad experience when they went to school and it can be really hard to get out of that mindset. ... If your grandfather got in trouble and suspended for something in 1936, you know and I know that some families get stuck with that. And that's not fair. One of the things that needs to happen is that we teach kids where they're at right now.

"As far as the community is concerned, that's one of the primary jobs for a Superintendent. They're the board's representative in that community. ... Our job first and foremost is to be an advocate for the kids."

Originally from Montana, Barbachano spent a good deal of her childhood abroad as a military brat. Both of her parents were enlisted in the Air Force. "My mom is from Montana and Montana," she added, "and is the closest thing to "home" that I know having moved so much as a kid. I did live with family in Montana at various times growing up and returned for good seven years ago and I don't have any plans on going anywhere else!"

She later left to attend Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, Penn. before moving on to Mills College in Oakland, Calif. Her career, both educationally and professionally have taken her to a number of places, from Arizona back to Eureka in northwest Montana.

While there is nothing firmly on her plate just yet, Barbachano did express the desire to see Drummond bring back one thing she is very fond of - music.

"It's really important to me personally and professionally," she stated. "I'd really like to bring music back. I think that's really important. I don't know how to make that happen ... but with all the research there is that shows what music does for a developing brain and expression and we've got a gorgeous music room full of instruments. It's kind of no brainer.

"The problem is one of how do we do that?"

Barbachano is a musician herself and plays several instruments in addition to her artistic abilities. She also stated that it is an integral part of her family.

As the summer progresses, Barbachano has already outlined several places where she plans to get together with teachers and board members to hear what they think about the school and how it might be better. Those plans include some Listening Sessions with the School Board later this month and the use of the PIR (Pupil-Instruction-Related) days in August to converse with instructors.

Barbachano has been married to Alex Bolotsky for 15 years and they have two children - Ezra a freshman and Nadja a fifth grader.

School isn't far off for the new Superintendent or her students. Athletic teams start back August 10 for Volleyball, August 11 for Football.

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