Middleton won't apply for superintendent post

Administrator was frontrunner
2012-02-07T17:13:00Z 2012-02-08T12:20:18Z Middleton won't apply for superintendent postBy SUSAN OLP solp@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette
February 07, 2012 5:13 pm  • 

Josh Middleton, assistant superintendent for School District 2, will not apply for the superintendent position.

Middleton sent an email Tuesday afternoon to the school board and to interim Superintendent Jack Copps.

In the email, Middleton acknowledged that, in the past, he had applied for the position and the interim post after former Superintendent Keith Beeman was released from the job.

“However, after some soul searching with my wife and my son, who is in eighth grade, coupled with my desire to work directly again with students and teachers, I welcome the opportunity to serve SD2 as the director of Adult Education in the future,” Middleton wrote.

In a recent reorganization of the district’s leadership team, Copps had eliminated the post of assistant superintendent effective July 1. If Middleton had not applied for superintendent, Copps said he planned to have Middleton head the Adult Education department.

“There is great potential for this school district, and I encourage the board to find common ground and unite keeping students and student learning at the forefront of all decisions,” Middleton wrote. “I wish you the best in finding the next district superintendent who can work collaboratively with stakeholders to carry out your vision.”

Beeman hired Middleton as assistant superintendent, a position created when Beeman restructured the district’s leadership structure last spring. Middleton began in June.

Middleton was superintendent of Laurel Public Schools for eight years. Middleton had announced late in 2010 that he planned to resign from the Laurel district.

He said that after earning a doctorate in education, which he received from Montana State University in May, he was looking for his next challenge.

When the SD2 board was seeking an interim superintendent in November, Middleton was one of four candidates interviewed.

At that meeting, some board members expressed the opinion that Middleton would be selected as the next superintendent. But they felt a veteran administrator would be best for the interim and voted to hire retired superintendent Copps.

Even in January, when board members voted to hire a national search firm to help hire its new superintendent, Middleton’s name came up as a strong candidate. But the board, in an 8-1 vote, decided a search would show the public that the board is being methodical in finding the best person for the job.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Middleton reiterated that he approached his decision from a personal and professional standpoint. His son is a student in Laurel, and if Middleton were SD2’s superintendent, it would be tough to be in two places at once.

“The demands are great on a superintendent and not being in the Laurel district, I feel I would lose out on some quality time (with my son),” Middleton said.

When Copps came to him with the idea of heading up Adult Education, Middleton said the idea excited him.

“My whole dissertation was on instructional leadership. That’s where my passion is,” he said.

“I look at myself as an instructional leader, and I look forward to returning to my roots.”

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