Tom Korst, Havre Public Schools’ current assistant superintendent, was just too impressive at his interviews in Hamilton less than two weeks, and now he’s leaving Havre.
The Hamilton School District’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Korst as their new Superintendent at a special meeting on Monday night.
Board chair David Bedey said all of the applicants were excellent, but the board was most impressed with Korst.
"Among his many strengths was his strong communication skills," Bedey said in the Ravalli Republic on Tuesday. "We feel this will enable him to engage with all the stakeholders across the community. And his deep understanding of education challenges at both the local, state and even national level really impressed us. He is very thorough, well-grounded and experience-based. He will be able to put forward a strong vision and mission that reflects community values, that will enable the board to establish priorities for the kinds of resourcing decisions we need to make when we are budgeting."
Havre Superintendent Andy Carlson said the announcement is bittersweet.
“In the end, we’re sorry to lose him, ” Carlson said. “When you have someone of that caliber they are probably going to have aspriations to move on.
“I hope, whatever he chooses, he is happiest, or it’s best for his family. ”
Carlson is both happy for Korst’s new district and to have another ally in public education.
“I think Hamilton is getting a good man, ” Carlson said. “Sometimes it’s nice to have someone outside the area to call and have advice from. ”
Korst was also confident that the phone lines between Havre and Hamilton district offices would be well used.
“We’re similar sized districts, ” Korst said. “We’ve worked through some issues together and I fully hope I can call him on further. ”
Korst will be starting in Hamilton on July 1, just after wrapping up his second school year in Havre.
Looking back on those two years, Korst said the experience has been very educational.
“I personally learned a ton, ” Korst said. “I learned about working with curriculum, a little bit about technology and about how a larger district works, how something with more than 300 students operates.
“I’ve had the opportunity to have a lot of great conversation and learn from people in the community. ”
Korst also said he was proud of the work he helped do in Havre, with technology and the complete overhaul of the math curriculum he has been working on for the past year and a half that he hopes to continue down in Hamilton.
Before Korst became the assistant superintendent, the position had been empty or non-existent for a few years.
Now that he’s leaving, Carlson said he and the staff are still thinking about whether they will replace him, especially as the districts spend the next week or two budgeting for the 2012-2013 school year.
“The time for finding people in the school business is short, ” Carlson said. “There’s that window in the spring. Then when you get out to May and June it gets extremely difficult to get those people.
“I’ll be sharing my ideas with them (the school board) and trying to get their feedback. ”