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Departing superintendent says "community" is key to Corvallis Schools success

Tim Johnson
Posted at 7:04 AM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 14:45:44-04

CORVALLIS — Departing Corvallis Schools Superintendent Tim Johnson says it's the "top to bottom" approach to education which makes Corvallis one of the highest regarded school districts in Montana.

Johnson is wrapping up his sixth school year in Corvallis this week, as he prepares to "reboot" his career and take a different assignment working for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"Over the past six years, we've got a lot of good things done. A lot of innovative things. There's still more to do. We're not perfect and we acknowledge that," Johnson said. "But it's just such a great environment to work, and I think for students to be educated. And it's a strong community structure, feel, to the community, top to bottom."

Johnson says that's been especially true this just-completed school year, as everyone from the school board to staff and parents pitched in to cope with the pandemic. He says he really believes that long legacy of community involvement is what has kept Corvallis as one of Montana's standout school districts for decades.

"You know, we have volunteers that come into the school district from the parents' side when it comes to helping students' reading, all kinds of different tasks that are necessary for that well-rounded education," Johnson told MTN News. "We have a volunteer board that spends countless hours in meetings and planning and solidifying the vision of the district. Then you have paid staff that are doing an outstanding job -- from the time you drive my and you can see the grounds, walking into the offices and the classrooms.

Johnson's new job as a Deputy Superintendent with the Montana Office of Public Instruction will be specifically working with the Legislature on issues from funding to innovation. He says that job has taken on additional meaning headed into the next session with the pandemic impacts still at the top of the list.

But he says his experience in Corvallis will help tremendously in making the case for districts across the state.

"We're getting to know it a little bit better. But there's always nuances we have to figure out, so I'm looking forward to that new challenge. And that was my intent, was to find a new challenge for me professionally while I still have the body and brain to do it," Johnson said.

Johnson's replacement, Jon Konen from Great Falls, is already in Corvallis and getting ready to officially start work at the end of this week.