Moore retiring as GFPS superintendent
Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Tom Moore is retiring this summer.
His last day will be June 28, 2024.
During their Nov. 13 meeting, the school board voted to forgo the annual review for the superintendent since he’s retiring and instead focus on the effort to recruit and select the next superintendent.
Moore told The Electric that three years ago when the school board offered him a new contract that he told then board chair Jan Cahill that he he’d be 65 this year and wouldn’t pursue an additional contract.
The board celebrated Moore’s 65th birthday during their Nov. 13 meeting.
Moore said his wife had retired and he said they want to spend a few months traveling to visit their children and grandchildren.
Then, he said, they plan to return to Great Falls and get involved in the community in another way.
By the time he retires, Moore will have spent 43 years in education, 17 of which were with GFPS.
Moore told The Electric that he’s working with the school board on their process for selecting a new superintendent and the transition.
The board is working with the Montana School Board Association and others to formulate the search process for his retirement and expects the board to detail their plan at their next meeting on Nov. 27.
Moore said he told the board during his review last year that he wouldn’t be pursuing a new contract.
He said it’s a good time to retire since the district is strong financial shape and the district hasn’t had to pursue levies for the last few years. That’s likely to change in upcoming years though, he said, as federal COVID relief dollars run out.
Moore was named superintendent in January 2019 and assumed the role that July. Less than a year later, the COVID pandemic reached Great Falls.
“Those were formative years,” Moore said of the pandemic and years since.
Moore said he’s had a strong leadership team at the district.
He said he’ll miss working with district staff and teachers who are excited about their work.
Moore said he’s proud of the district’s efforts to increase dual enrollment and distance learning opportunities, as well as workforce training programs and the new CORE School, which he thinks will be one of the first charter schools in the state.
In the superintendent role, Moore said he’s enjoyed working with the community and Malmstrom Air Force Base.
Moore said there are many barriers to student success and some of the district accomplishments were working with United Way of Cascade County and other community groups to tackle those tough issues.
The growth of the ROTC program, which has grown from about 25 students to nearly 100 in a few years, was an accomplishment he was proud of during his time.
Community support for GFPS was also strong in recent years, he said, through the 2016 bond and keeping two comprehensive high schools afloat despite budget challenges and declining enrollment.
Moore oversees 10,300 students; 1,340 staff members and 21 buildings, according to the board’s review in January.
In February 2021, the board voted 6-1 to approve a three-year contract for Moore with a pay increase.
The agenda report from the school board had indicated increasing Moore’s salary by $15,000 to $175,000 for the following school year, but based on some community feedback, the board made a new plan during that meeting.
Moore’s salary was $160,000 and Mark Finnicum, board member, moved to increase the salary to $165,000 for the next school year, $170,000 the second year and $175,000 the third year.
There were no other changes to his contract or compensation package.
School board members have given Moore a favorable review each year since he was named superintendent.