School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck will step down at the end of the school year, he announced at Monday's school board meeting.
Bouck has led the district since the 2012-2013 school year.
"I've got as much energy as I've ever had ... but it is time for Kristy (Bouck) and myself to see our grandkids a little more," he said during the surprise announcement.
Bouck oversaw the construction of a pair of new middle schools and extensive elementary renovations and helped the district dig out from under a class-size crunch that threatened SD2's state accreditation.
He made planning a priority in the district, leading a facilities master plan. Most recently, he championed professional learning communities, weekly meetings among teachers geared at better student outcomes.
Bouck often waded into legislative issues, particularly in support of career and technical education. He pushed for increased funding; the state bumped up funding $1 million in 2015, but halved that figure in 2017.
The topic became an area of focus for Bouck; he commissioned a study of the district programs, which called for the hiring of a CTE director among other initiatives.
Trustees routinely gave Bouck glowing reviews and readily extended his contract.
"This is an item I wish I never had to place on the agenda," said board chair Greta Besch Moen before addressing Bouck's wife. "You've given us your husband for six years, and it's time to give him back."
Bouck came to Billings after serving as superintendent of the Peninsula School District in Gig Harbor, Washington. He told senior staff about his resignation late Monday afternoon and informed school board members before the meeting. An announcement was sent out via district email during the school board meeting.
It appears unlikely that trustees will charge into the hiring process. Jeana Lervick, a lawyer representing the district and former executive director of human resources, recommended waiting until the end of the calendar year to post the position.
"There is a lot of time for this entire process," she said.
Bouck was optimistic about the future for Billings schools.
"The thing I feel good about is the great leadership team, the great staff, the great board," he said. "I came in here with energy and passion, and I'm going to go out the same way."