MISSOULA — Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Dr. Rob Watson will leave his position at the end of the spring semester and in the interim, assistant superintendent Russ Lodge will step into the role.
The decision to offer Lodge the role of interim superintendent came after MCPS board discussion Tuesday night.
Lodge plans to retire after the 2022/2023 school year and has no plans of pursuing the permanent role of superintendent. In the upcoming school year, the MCPS board will launch a formal search process for a permanent superintendent.
Lodge brings over 40 years of experience to the table, having served in public education as a teacher, elementary and high school principal, mostly in the Missoula area. For the past two years, Lodge has served as the Assistant Superintendent for MCPS.
To backfill Lodge’s role as assistant superintendent, MCPS will advertise two assistant superintendent positions. If the district’s offer to Lodge is accepted, the final contract will require approval at a future MCPS board meeting.
While some board members worried that the process to appoint Lodge has been rushed, others spoke out in support of the haste.
“I know it may seem rushed,” said trustee Diane Lorenzen. “If we were hiring a superintendent this would be rushed, but we’re not, we’re hiring an interim superintendent. It’s a difficult position to fill and we have an ideal candidate on staff.”