BOZEMAN – Bozeman Public Schools will soon be without a superintendent as Rob Watson gets ready to take over in Missoula.
Watson accepted a role as Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent last week.
Now the Bozeman School Board is preparing to look for someone to fill the empty spot.
Watson serves about 7,000 students and that’s just in Bozeman alone. Moving to Missoula, he’ll be working with about 9,000 students.
The school board says he is well-versed for that job but he will be missed.
“It’s a big deal,” said Bozeman School District chair Andy Willett. “Rob has been an extraordinary superintendent. He’s been nothing but exemplary throughout our system.”
Willett told MTN news that Watson’s set of shoes will be a tough pair to fill.
“He has left our district in a great spot,” Willett says. “Because of that, I think we’re very much prepared to take the next steps we need to do with the district.”
He says the superintendent isn’t leaving the school nor is the rest of his community ill-prepared.
“I think it’s more far-reaching than the district, frankly,” Willett says. “The community, at large or as a whole, is going to miss him, as well. I know he sat on the hospital board, United Way.”
Watson also had his hands in local early childhood literacy and the construction of the new high school.
“It’s been a very ongoing project that Rob’s been very instrumental with and we’re going to miss his leadership in that,” Willett says.
Watson’s departure will mean something else to Willett and the rest of the board — what happens now?
“We’re probably going to take a two-track approach, look at an interim-type position, as well as go out and see what we can find,” Willett says.
Willett says Monday the board will decide whether to call upon the Montana School Board Association or work with an interim.
Willett knows Watson will take his skills with him when he takes over in Missoula.
“We wish him the best of luck, for sure,” Willett says. “They’re getting a superstar.”
Watson told me although he has accepted those pending contract negotiations, he cannot talk with us yet until the terms of those negotiations are set in stone.