By Nathan Bourne

SLE hires Schrock as superintendent


August 8, 2019

Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

Seeley Lake Elementary superintendent candidate Dan Schrock visits with SLE staff Angela Harris and Sheila Devins during the public Meet and Greet Monday, July 29. Schrock was selected by the SLE School Board to become the new superintendent for the 2019-2020 school year.

SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Elementary School District Board of Trustees hired Dan Schrock July 31 at a special board meeting. In other business Bridget Laird will fill the open junior high teaching position.

The Board interviewed three candidates including Schrock, Leland Stocker and Jody Welter July 29. A fourth candidate, Kevin St. John, was scheduled to be interviewed however he dropped out due to taking a job in Philipsburg.

The board took public comment before discussing and deciding whom to offer a contract to. Most of the public comment favored Welter over Schrock based on their interviews and Welter's data-drive approach to education.

Overall the Board was pleased with all three candidates but also had Welter and Schrock as their top two.

"As a board we have to look at what each candidate brings to the table that will help this school get off on the right foot knowing that we are already behind [for the school year]," said Trustee Todd Johnson.

Johnson's concerns about how little time the new superintendent would have to prepare for the start of the school year was echoed by the rest of the board. For that reason they put Schrock ahead of Welter because he had experience as both a principal and superintendent in Montana while Welter only had principal experience in another state.


"If this was happening before the school year was out last year, it may be a whole different story. I think either of those two candidates, whichever one we choose, would be wonderful but [Schrock] will be able to jump right in and swim," said Vice Chair Kyle Marx.

The Board voted unanimously to instruct their hiring agent to negotiate and offer a contract to Schrock. Schrock accepted the contract and the board approved it at the special meeting two days later hiring him for the 2019-2020 school year.

Schrock said he was very honored and that he appreciates the opportunity.

In other business, Missoula County Superintendent of Schools Erin Lipkind recommended the board move Bridget Laird from her current position into the open junior high position. While Laird is certified to teach English at that level she is not certified to teach social studies. Lipkind felt that Laird is fully capable of teaching social studies.

Lipkind recommended the board mis-assign Laird and take the accreditation ding on the junior high for the year. She said that the accreditation ding wouldn't hurt the school much, they would be filling the open junior high position and moving Laird, who is currently a tenured teacher, into a full time teaching job.

Laird has several options to get certified and Lipkind felt that could be accomplished but not on the short notice before the accreditation report was due for this school year.

The board gave the go ahead to assign Laird the junior high position.

The next meeting is Monday, Aug. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at SLE.


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