Two Down, Two to Go, One Will Stand
Glasgow School Board Narrows Search for Superintendent
July 24, 2019
The Glasgow School Board met with a full quorum to review applicants for the Superintendent job left vacant by Bob Connors, who has moved on to lead the Bozeman School District. In a race to find either a permanent or interim superintendent before the start of the school year, the board closed the position after just one week and after receiving only five applications.
The board then reviewed each applicant in detail pouring over cover letters, answers to supplemental questions and resumes to get a clear feel for each of the hopefuls. After a good deal of back and forth and some input from educators in attendance, the board voted to remove two applicants immediately and invite the remaining three to interview this Friday here in Glasgow.
Among the three interviewees are Aaron Cornman, Ph.D. from Missouri, Wade Sundee currently of Saco, Mont. and Lisa Stroh, Ph.D. currently of Poplar, Mont. At press time each candidate was had accepted an invitation to interview, tour the schools and have a meet-and-greet with the community this Friday, July 26. The board is moving quickly to try to have at least an interim in place by the start of the school year and they expressed concern that a delay into next week could hinder that goal.
Reviewing the applicants, Cornman was the superintendent for a 3500-student school district outside St. Louis, Mo. from 2013 to 2018. Prior to that he served as the superintendent for both a 350-student school district and a 786-student school district since 2007. His early educator experience includes elementary education, special education and working with emotionally disturbed students. He also served as the principal for a number of schools to include those for special education and was also the special education director for a 303-student K-6 school. Of special note to both the board and educators present in the audience was that he had been nominated by his students for and received the Missouri Superintendent of the Year Award.
Trustee Ryan Fast stated his support for Cornman saying, “I can’t get over his qualifications and awards.” That sentiment was echoed by other members and the educators in attendance. Still some board members expressed caution that Cornman may be unaware of the challenges of living in remote Montana and much of his desire for moving stemmed from wanting to live closer to family in Bozeman. Chair of the Board, Mona Amundson, put aside her concern stating that it is possible to hire Dr. Cornman on as an interim while searching for another permanent superintendent.
“This might be a way for some, to get in the door, to get to Montana,” said Amundson, “and for me there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Also being asked to interview was Wade Sundee. Sundee currently serves as the Superintendent of Saco Schools and has been in that position since 2016. Prior to that he was a middle-school teacher at Plentywood Schools and other schools in Montana since 2000 when he started his education career in Hinsdale. Sundee also has an extensive career of coaching throughout many of the schools he has worked and has even worked as an athletic director. Sundee is also a veteran of the Montana Army National Guard where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Amundson expressed her knowledge of Sundee’s reputation among area communities saying she had heard nothing but good things.
Fast also echoed that sentiment saying, “I’ve heard nothing but good as well.”
It was generally understood that he was knowledgeable of the local area and had ties to the community. Of all the candidates Sundee was the only one to have no reservations presented by any board member about his work history, his willingness to live in Glasgow or of his career path.
The final candidate invited to interview is Lisa Stroh. Stroh was raised in Circle and she expressed that her desire for the job was influenced by the possibility of being closer to family. She said in her cover letter that she had been, “quite impressed with [Glasgow] school for some time.” Of all the prospective superintendents, Stroh had a meandering career track. For the last few years she has served as a consultant in Poplar for the school district implementing grants. Prior to that she had owned Academic Advantage Consulting LLP., which provided consulting services to school districts. Prior to that she had served in two school districts in Alaska in Petersburg and Valdez as superintendent. From 2009 to 2013 she was appointed the superintendent of Blaine County Schools after being a professor of education at Ft. Belknap College from 2003 to 2009.
In 2000 she was the principal for Havre Elementary School after moving back from Alaska where she was the Kinai Peninsula Elementary Principal. Before that she worked for the Kodiak Island Burrow School. Stroh got her start in education in Bighorn, Mont. in 1985 having started off as a special education teacher. She worked there until 1994 when she moved with her husband to Alaska.
During discussion by the Board the only issue raised about Dr. Stoh’s qualifications for the job is the frequency with which she changed jobs, and even then it was not enough to prevent an interview, and no other concerns were raised about her qualifications or experience.
From here the candidates will be invited for interviews, which at press time were scheduled to take place on Friday, July 26. The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a tour of the schools with all three applicants. Interviews will follow beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing until complete. The interviews are open to the public and will occur in the school district board room. Following the interviews the public is invited to a meet-and-greet from 5 to 6 p.m. in the school board meeting room. Following the meet-and-greet the board will meet at 6:30 p.m., still in the board room, to deliberate and vote on offering the job to one of the candidates.
During the meeting the board chair, Mona Amundson, also solicited questions to be fielded from Glasgow educators to be asked during the interview process. Throughout the meeting Amundson and the board expressed their desire to engage the community and make the hiring process both transparent and timely for the upcoming school year.