Laurel School Board moves forward with superintendent candidates

By 
Jaci Webb Of The Laurel Outlook
Thursday, March 3, 2022

Laurel School trustees interviewed four candidates for school superintendent last week, and voted to schedule a second round of interview with two of the out-of-state candidates and to extend the deadline for more candidates.

Board chair Karen Teeters, who also chairs the search committee, said the committee values input from the community, in addition to staff and students. Laurel School Superintendent Linda Filpula is retiring effective June 30 after serving the Laurel School District for 29 years, starting out as a middle school teacher.

Five applicants initially applied for the position, which closed on Feb. 11. One of the candidates later withdrew from the pool. Teeters said she was initially discouraged by the small number of candi dates, but realized “that is the norm right now.”

“In years past, you would get more interest, but it’s been a hard couple of years in the schools,” she said.

The four candidates who were interviewed include Coul Hill, an administrator at Lockwood School District in Lockwood; Monte Silk, who has served as a school superintendent in Arizona; Robert Lewandowski, the Colstrip (Montana) School Superintendent; and Michael Robey, a school superintendent from Illinois.

The two candidates to be scheduled for a second round of interviews are Robey and Silk. Teeters said those interviews would likely take place the week of March 14. The deadline for application for the position is extended through March 15.

Montana School Boards Association is helping with the search by doing background checks and interviewing references for the candidates, Teeters said. All of the interviews last week were live streamed over the Laurel School District’s Facebook page and they are available for members of the public to review. Teeters hopes to involve the public in the selection of the new superintendent.

“What we are thinking is bringing each candidate here, giving them tours of our facility, and have them meet with staff and parents. We will have a community meeting that joins the two, staff and community,” Teeters said.

Teeters did not have a definite deadline for hiring a new superintendent, but hopes to get one in place before Filpula retires.

“We would like to get a good superintendent as soon as possible. It’s a big job, a huge job,” Teeters said.

The pay would be approximately $114,000 per year.

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