A former Havre High School student and teacher and Havre Public Schools superintendent is leaving his current school district to go to work for a statewide association.
Bozeman Superintendent Kirk Miller said he is finishing up several projects in his current job before moving to Helena to start his new position as executive director of the School Administrators of Montana July 1.
Miller, who left his job as superintendent of Havre Public Schools in 2007 to take his job as the top administrator in the Bozeman schools, said this morning that he decided it was time move in a new direction.
“I just decided that now was the right time …, ” he said. “At this point in my career, I believe I’ve prepared myself for 31 years to know a lot about what happens in our schools and I’m poised to carry that message to the state-level table and to our federal government … and (help) them understand the needs of Montana schools as well. ”
Miller took over in Bozeman, one of the largest school districts in the state, in 2007 after spending more than 10 years as superintendent for his childhood school districts in Havre.
The School Administrators of Montana comprises five other organizations, with Montana Association of County School Superintendents, the Montana Association of School Superintendents, the Montana Association of Secondary School Principals, the Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals and the Montana Council of Administrators of Special Education, all part of the overarching organization.
Miller already has been part of that organization as the federal relations coordinator for the Association of School Superintendents. He also chaired the state Board of Education from 1999 to 2006.
Miller will be taking a pay cut — SAM will pay him a $110,000-a-year salary, down from his $131,000-a-year salary as Bozeman superintendent — but he said the switch is not about the money, but what he can do as the director of SAM.
“I know that this position has responsibility for about 870 school leaders throughout Montana, and it’s about professional development of the leadership of all of our schools in Montana, and it’s also about being able to tell the story of what we need in our public schools at the legislative- and executive-branch level, ” he said.
Miller graduated from Havre High School, then earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry education from Havre’s Northern Montana College, now Montana State University-Northern. He returned to Havre High to teach mathematics, working in his hometown high school from 1982 through 1990, also teaching as an adjunct professor at Northern.
He then took the job as principal of Shepherd High School from 1990-93, and became superintendent of Cascade Public Schools in 1993.
Miller earned a master’s degree in school administration and educational leadership from Montana State University in Bozeman, and earned his doctorate in the same program in 1999.
He said this morning that he is thankful for the experiences he had as a teacher and as an administrator in Havre as well as Bozeman and the other school districts where he worked.
“I appreciate all of my experiences that happened in Havre because it helped (me) learn everything that I needed to learn to move to a different level to try to help all students, ” Miller said. “I valued my time in Havre — I’m a hometown guy — and I will always keep what’s happening in our schools and what’s happening in the community in my thoughts and will continue to do that now on a different level in Helena. ”