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Former Bozeman Public Schools chief made MCPS head

Posted: 9:38 PM, Apr 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-19 10:35:34-04

MISSOULA – Missoula County Public School trustees are deciding to stay “close to home” for the district’s next superintendent, offering Bozeman Public Schools chief Robert Watson the job.

MCPS trustees spent the entire day interviewing, meeting and reviewing the three candidates to replacing retiring Superintendent Mark Thane.

In addition to Watson, the district interviewed Jan Haven, Director of Instructional Leadership for Milwaukee Public Schools and Dr. David Baugh, a school superintendent from Pennsylvania.

But when trustees emerged from an executive session on Thursday night, the consultant who led the search announced that Baugh had withdrawn after deciding this wasn’t the right time for him to move.

That left trustees to decide between Watson, who had worked here in MCPS before moving to Bozeman a few years ago, and Haven, who’s experience had been more in the fields of teaching and curriculum.

While trustees said they were impressed with Haven’s resume, Watson’s experience as a superintendent, and with public schools in Missoula and Montana showed he’d be best to serve in that chief administrative post…

“He would do the superintendent’s job, and he would let the other people do their jobs. He said he would delegate authority and verify. Made me think of Reagan, ‘trust but verify’,” MCPS Trustee Diane Lorenzen said.

“I’m very pleased that he’s worked in high school and has high school experience,” she added. “I don’t think it’s possible to understand how complicated high schools are until you’ve raised some high school kids and worked in high schools.”

When the vote came, it was unanimous and that sets the stage for MCPS to negotiate a final contract with Watson, who would officially take over July 1.