Moore selected as next GFPS superintendent

In a 6-1 vote, the Great Falls school board voted to select Tom Moore as superintendent effective July 1.

The board conducted a second public interview with Moore on Thursday after Greg Nyen withdrew his name from consideration over the weekend.

The Great Falls Public Schools Board of Trustees had some discussion regarding some concerns with Moore as superintendent so in an effort to allay those concerns, Trustee Jason Brantley moved to offer a one year contract that could be extended.

But other trustees and community members said that would send a message that the board was unsure and that change takes time.

Brantley withdrew that motion and Trustee Jeff Gray moved to offer a two year contract and something about chocolate chip cookies. His motion did not include language about renewal options but was approved 7-0.

The board was wrapping up when Debra Silk, an attorney with the Montana School Board Association who has been assisting GFPS with the process, suggested they make a motion authorizing her to negotiate the contract terms that would come back to the board for approval.

The contact negotiation process would likely include provisions for renewal as well as salary and benefits.

During public comment, a number of GFPS principals and assistant principals spoke in support of Moore. No one spoke in opposition during public comment.

Trustee Kim Skornogoski thanked her fellow board members for allowing more time in the process. She said that even though they ended up with just one candidate it allowed the board to ask pointed questions to address concerns that were raised during the selection process.

Thursday’s questions include how Moore would forge relationships with community partners.

Trustee Teresa Schreiner said that question came out of the conversations she had with community stakeholders who said they have a hard time working with Moore.

She said those community members expressed a “great deal of apprehension” and because of that she was the lone vote in opposition to offering Moore the job.

Other board members said Moore was the right person for the job and they didn’t believe reopening the search would net any better candidates.

Last week, Trustee Laura Vukasin suggested they start the process over in the hopes of finding someone who would stand out as the clear choice.

But since then, she said she’d been contacted by a number of citizens expressing overwhelming support for Moore.

Other interview questions included discussion of the graduation rate, declining enrollment budgets and school safety.