Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Watson resigns
The announcement came suddenly Friday in an email from Missoula County Public Schools that Superintendent Rob Watson would announce his resignation at noon.
KGVO News and other media rushed to the MCPS administration building to meet with Watson and hear the announcement.
“I’ve been in this role for about three years,” Watson began. “Prior to that, I served as superintendent at Bozeman for seven years and this morning announced to our teaching staff and staff throughout the district that I would be stepping down on June 30.”
Watson explained that he was resigning to take up another position in public education.
“I will be taking on the role of executive director for Montana school administrators and that’s an advocacy position,” he said. “It will give me the chance to advocate for educators not just here in Missoula, but across our state, in places where you would typically expect advocacy like the legislature or the interim board of education, or the board of education. public education.”
KGVO asked Watson if the acrimonious atmosphere in the community over COVID 19 policy, mask mandates and mandatory vaccinations played a role in his decision to seek another position, a question he said. gently deflected, simply stating that he had enjoyed his three years as superintendent of MCPS.
“My fondest memory of the past two and a half years has been that we continue to work together to keep our children in school and to continue learning,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the dedication and empathy of our staff members, we couldn’t have done this. Because of that, I feel lucky to have worked with this staff and to continue to teach the kids and that’s the biggest lesson; that’s what I remember the most is that we can survive quite difficult situations, but we can continue to teach children, which is important for all educators.
Given that the University of Montana is days away from dropping its mandatory masking policy, Watson was asked if mask mandates at all Missoula County public schools would continue through the end of the current school year.
He said no.
“We’re all holding our breath for what this new variant could be,” he said. “But I don’t expect the masks to last the whole school year. I think we are close too (like the University). Our Board of Directors approved certain measures in November. If you look at those metrics, we’re also getting closer. But we want to be transparent about this with our community so they know what we’re looking at and what we’re going to use to guide that decision. And so I think we’re probably two or three weeks out, but it’s just hard to say.
A press release from MCPS said, “In 2015, Dr. Watson was part of the inaugural group, joining 27 fellow superintendents from across the country, to achieve national superintendent certification. In 2016, I was honored by Montana School Administrators with the GV Erickson Award, the highest recognition given to a school administrator for outstanding service and dedication. In 2019, Dr. Watson was named Montana Superintendent of the Year.