MISSOULA – Outgoing Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Thane says he’s excited to know who his replacement will be.
And since it’s a former MCPS staffer and fellow Montana superintendent, he believes the transition in administration will be a smooth one.
But he got a smile on his face Thursday night when reminded Thane that the selection of Dr. Robert Watson makes his retirement “a sure thing.”
“It certainly does. You know we were so fortunate to have a group of highly qualified candidates. And I think the community is the winner here,” Thane said.
“And I look forward to working with Rob Watson as the new superintendent. I anticipate it’ll be a very smooth and successful transition. And I think he’s got the skills and attributes that will help move this district forward. And I personally am very excited,” he added.
Watson came out on top of a field of three finalists. In addition to Watson, the district had interviewed Jan Haven, Director of Instructional Leadership for Milwaukee Public Schools and Dr. David Baugh, a school superintendent from Pennsylvania. Baugh would withdraw from consideration later in the day.
For Watson, his selection comes as a return to Missoula, where he received his Doctorate at the University of Montana, served as a middle school principal, and Sentinel High School principal before moving to Bozeman.
Thane says that experience and background will help with the transition.
“I think having the opportunity to sit with Dr. Watson and to just go through with some of the documents. And he’ll be a quick study, because of his knowledge of the state, knowledge of the community,” Thane told MTN News.
“And I think there’s potential that he’ll just hit the ground running and we won’t miss a beat. And to me, that’s very exciting,” he added.
Thane and Watson also have something else in common. They’ve both own “Superintendent of the Year” awards from the Montana Association of School Superintendents.