Alice Campbell Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Havre School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with David Mahon for the position of Havre Public School District superintendent. "I'm optimistic that we will have a response from Mr. Mahon in the next week," said Board Chairman Todd Hanson, who also said that there will probably be something more definite for board members to vote on at their next meeting. The decision came after the completion of a rigorous interview process including public comment. Of comments made, all said they would like to see Mahon fill the position. Commenters also thanked the board for allowing their participation in the process. Board members interviewed three other applicants: Glenn Hageman, Paul Huber and Larry Markuson over the course of Monday and Tuesday. The board interviewed Markuson before Mahon by asking him the same questions that the other candidates were asked. Markuson focused on communication and trust being key to running a school district. He called the superintendent the "keeper of the vision" for the schools. He also emphasized that looking at alternatives made budget planning and cutting decisions more informed and therefore better. What Hanson called Mahon's "strong qualifications" made him stand out from the rest though. Hanson referenced Mahon's handling of the burning down of the high school in his district as something that "speaks volumes about his leadership." When the school burned down, Mahon said he and his administrative team had a plan within two hours of his arrival on the scene. "You've got to step up to the plate," Mahon said. Mahon currently works as the Superintendent with the Huntley Project School District in Worden where he has held the same position for six years. An administrator since 1997, he has also worked as a principal at Baker Public Schools. He received his bachelor's degree from Eastern Montana College and a master's degree from Fort Hays State University in Fort Hays, Kan. During his interview, Mahon focused on communication, prioritization based on measurable aspects and the leadership role that superintendents fill. He also said that the role of technology must be integrated with training not only for students, but also for teachers. "If they don't get adequate training it's irrelevant," he said. One teacher in attendance remarked that he "related very well with our students" while another said, "I think he's someone we could work with." A third teacher said that the next superintendent should have strong leadership qualities. "The superintendent is the educational leader of this school system," Mahon said during his interview with the board. "Tact and professionalism in communication" is part of that leadership role, he added. If Mahon accepts the position, he would begin July 1. The board will discuss Mahon's appointment in further detail at their next meeting Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Havre Middle School.