By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller is one of five applicants chosen to interview for the position of superintendent of Billings Public Schools later this month.
"It's not that I want to leave Havre," Miller said this morning. "I'm taking a look at opportunities in a school district that has 3,000 employees, 15,350 students, and a $100 million budget," he said, adding that 10 percent of Montana's students are in the Billings district.
"What I see is that I would have an opportunity to provide leadership and direction for a large number of students," Miller said.
"I see this as a potential opportunity to serve more kids. That's what I do for a living," he said.
Miller stressed that his decision to apply for the job does not reflect any negative feelings about Havre.
"I don't want there to be the impression that there's something wrong, because there isn't," he said. "I love this community. I grew up here and this is my home."
Miller said the position came open in mid-March, and he filed his application on March 27.
The interviews will take place April 15-16 in Billings.
"An interview is just an interview," Miller said. "It's meant to match up an individual with an organization. If that's meant to be, both sides will know that."
If he is offered the job, Miller said it is not certain he will accept.
"That will depend," he said, adding that the Billings school district just went through a teachers strike. "I'll be prepared to ask questions of the committee, the community and the school board also," he said.
Stevie Schmitz, chair of the Billings school board, said she hopes the position would be filled by the end of the month, and that the new superintendent would be able to start work by July 1.
Schmitz said that the advisory committee in charge of filling the superintendent position had joked that they want "someone who can walk on water."
"They don't have to walk on water, but they have to know where the rocks are," Schmitz said. "We're looking for a great skill set, in both a community and educational leader."
The position will pay no less than $105,000 annually. Miller now makes $76,702.
Before becoming superintendent in Havre in 1996, Miller served as superintendent of schools in Cascade. He previously taught math at Havre High School.