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HPS principal replacements lined up


Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson

Havre High School Athletic Director Dennis Murphy steps out into the hallway Tuesday afternoon for a portrait. This fall Murphy will be the interim principal at HHS.

Since two Havre school principals announced in the past two months that they would leave at the end of the year, the districts have lined up their replacements.

Havre High School will be headed for the next year by Athletic Director Dennis Murphy, who will be interim principal.

Sunnyside Intermediate School principal position has a candidate, Marlin Lewis of Polson, lined up for the Board of Trustees to consider at the next meeting on June 14.

Havre High School

Superintendent Andy Carlson explained it was Dennis Murphy's 20-year history in the district that qualified him for the placeholder position.

"It was Mr. Murphy's experience at the high school and his history, " Carlson said. "I just think he will fill that capacity well. "

Murphy first came to the district 20 years ago, as the physical education teacher at Devlin School and high school girls basketball coach.

He then moved to Havre Middle School, still teaching PE and coaching high school girls basketball, on his way to the high school, where he came to his current athletic director position in 2001.

The interim principal position will be his first opportunity to use the administrative certificate he earned in 2007.

"It's exciting for me, " Murphy said. "It's going to be a challenge, but I'm at a point in my career where it's great to have new challenges, to work with people in new capacities.

"I really embrace this opportunity. "

According to Carlson, Murphy will be the interim principal for the next school year, to give the district enough time to carry out a full search for a permanent replacement, a process they intend to start next January.

Until then, he will run the school and the athletics with help from assistant principal Kipp Lewis and a half-time administrative assistant the district will hire to help manage duties.

Murphy said he would probably need someone to handle the day-to-day operations of athletic activities, while he would remain involved with larger projects.

"I want to do what I can do for this district for the kids and the staff, " Murphy said. "We have a great staff and that makes things a lot easier. "

Despite Murphy's faith in the staff, he said he had heard rumors that some of the staff did not return that faith; rumors that were both untrue and silly.

"I laughed, " Murphy said, "because I went down and talked to those teachers, and they had resigned way before I was appointed.

"You know how change goes. "

Sunnyside Intermediate School

Looking for a replacement for Brian Barrows as principal at Sunnyside Intermediate School, elementary district administrators had a day full of interviews last Thursday.

"I think we had a great candidate group, " Carlson said. "I was very pleased with the people that came in. They were a great group of people.

"At this time we have made an offer pending board approval. "

That offer was made to Marlin Lewis, a math teacher at Polson High School, who said this morning that he had accepted.

The Montana State University alumnus has taught math at Polson middle and high schools for 17 years.

He said that he just finished his administrative certification and is ready to take on his first administrative position.

Lewis said he had gotten to know Havre recently, when he and his family visited his brother Kipp Lewis, Havre High School's assistant principal, and they were impressed with Havre Public Schools.

"We thought there was a great education community there, so we thought it would be a great opportunity, " Lewis said.

Havre has "a very good district; it's very respected, " Lewis said. "I look forward to working with Havre's leadership. "

The Board of Trustees will look at approving the appointment in the Havre Middle School auditorium on Tuesday, June 14.


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