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Bozeman school board votes to postpone national superintendent search

Posted at 8:30 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 10:30:42-05

BOZEMAN — Bozeman school board trustees weighed in on whether to begin the national search for a new superintendent or to appoint an internal interim for the position during their meeting held Monday evening.

It's been about 3 months since Bozeman superintendent Bob Connors was placed on administrative leave, and now school board members are discussing finding a new superintendent.

“I feel like we’re in a good spot. Normally, if you’re in a super ideal situation you’re posting and getting to work on these things about mid-January but I don’t feel like we’re too far out of that time frame,” said Pat Strauss, the director of human services for the district.

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A lot of Monday’s meeting focused on whether the school board should vote to begin the process of a national search or appoint an internal interim superintendent for the following school year.

“A lot of it is a perception thing. If you’ve got an interim superintendent, I think you’re giving folks the impression that this is not a permanent situation, and there are all the feelings and I guess decisions to go along with that whereas if you’ve got someone in there who the board’s committed to, who you feel comfortable over the long term, I think that has implications of moving the district forward and longevity,” explained Mike Waterman, the director of business services for the district.

But there were numerous concerns expressed with beginning a national search, especially right now.

“I have some concerns about just doing a superintendent search through COVID and not being able to meet them and community events,” said Sandy Wilson, the Chair of the board.

“We are in COVID. We’ve been through a lot as a district,” said Greg Neil, the vice-chair.

And all seemed to agree to postpone the search - except one board member.

“Whether we’re making that decision now or making that decision in the future, we’re still dealing with the same things. I outweigh the consistency and getting that next person in place for the superintendent position,” opposed trustee Kevin Black.

But in the official vote, the motion passed 7 to 1 to appoint an internal interim superintendent from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, and postpone the national search until the next school year.