MISSOULA – New Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Watson says he plans a lot of “listening and learning” during his first 100 days in the district to make sure he has a grasp on both current challenges and accomplishments.
Watson is settling into the new assignment after taking over from Mark Thane — but it’s actually a return to the Garden City.
After serving as Bozeman School Superintendent, Watson is coming back to where he worked as a principal at C.S. Porter Middle School, Rattlesnake Elementary School and Sentinel High School.
But even with that familiarity, he says there’s some catching up to do.
“Trying to get sort of, the successes and challenges, but also the immediate imperatives. I don’t want to let anything fall off the radar. So I’ll be asking a variety of folks what’s the long-term vision, in their mind,” Watson told MTN News.
“But also, what are the immediate imperatives that need attention. Again, trying to do sort of a researched-based thing and look for themes across the board, and see if I can see some similarities. And then report back to the board on what I found out,” he added.
Watson outlined his draft review plan for that first 100 days in his first meeting with MCPS trustees on Tuesday evening.
Watson told the board he wants to use this initial time to not only get acquainted with the district and its opportunities and challenges — but also to make sure no plans or ideas are lost during the administrative transition.
Watson tells us that includes focusing on the end of the district’s massive “ Smart Schools 2020 ” construction program, which is now entering its final stages.
He also says the district is very appreciative of the voters approving the bond issues and will make sure all the projects are completed on time. Plus, as he makes the rounds, Watson says he’s looking forward to meeting parents too.
“I find with most staff, and with parents, they’re really proud of their schools and they love to talk about their schools. So that’s an exciting piece.”
Watson believes his experience dealing with the growth in Bozeman schools will help here in Missoula, where enrollments are also climbing.