The Bozeman School Board will interview four finalists for the superintendent’s job next Wednesday rather than the five originally selected.

The board plans to interview four finalists in public on June 12, Debra Silk, associate executive director of the Montana School Boards Association, wrote in an email Wednesday. MTSBA is assisting the Bozeman School Board in its search.

The four finalists are Sarah Brown of Florida, Robert Connors of Glasgow, Montana, Christopher Hines of Texas and Richard Schroeder of Massachusetts.

Twelve candidates applied originally. Superintendent Rob Watson is leaving the 7,000-student Bozeman district after seven years to lead the larger Missoula County Public Schools. He was recently awarded a three-year contract that will pay an annual $180,000 salary.

Five finalists were chosen last week. The fifth was Greg Nyen, who is stepping down after three years as superintendent of the Waupaca Schools in Wisconsin. He was also recently a finalist for superintendents’ jobs in Belgrade and Great Falls.

Silk wrote that in preliminary discussions with the state Office of Public Instruction, it appeared Nyen does not meet Montana license requirements at this time. He was surprised and disappointed, she wrote.

Andy Willett, Bozeman School Board chair, said he’s not disappointed to have fewer candidates to consider. The screening committee had originally recommended four, he said.

“It only takes one,” Willett said. “We’re just fine with four.”

The four finalists will tour the Bozeman schools June 12 in the morning and then meet with Watson for an hour.

A community reception, where the public can meet all the finalists, will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., in Bozeman High School’s South Cafeteria.

At 4 p.m., the school board will hold a public meeting in the high school’s Berg Library, upstairs in the North Classroom Building, to conduct formal interviews with the finalists for about one hour each. The board is planning a special meeting on June 18 to vote on whether to hire one of the finalists or instead choose an interim superintendent for a year to allow more time for a search.

“We still have that option,” Willett said.

The four finalists are:

n Sarah Brown, human resources chief officer for the 48,000-student Manatee County School District in Florida for four years until she resigned last month, effective June 30. She has also directed human resources for public schools in Eugene, Oregon; La Puente, California; Los Angeles County schools and Tampa, Florida. She worked 11 years as a teacher and two as a principal. She earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in 1986 from Montana State University.

n Robert Connors has been superintendent of 842-student Glasgow Public Schools since 2012. Before that he was a junior high principal, high school principal and special education director with the Stevensville Public Schools, and a business teacher for Choteau and Laurel public schools. He was quarterback of the Glasgow state championship football team in 1980, a quarterback for the Montana Grizzlies, and has coached high school football teams for 25 years, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

n Christopher Hines is deputy superintendent of the 63,000-student Conroe Independent School District in the Houston, Texas, area. He has worked for the district since 2001 as a high school principal, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent. He has also worked as a high school principal, teacher and assistant principal for Texas schools. He has a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University, master’s degree in English from the University of Houston and doctoral degree in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.

n Richard Schroeder is senior national director of academic planning for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Massachusetts. He worked previously as chief academic officer for the 27,000-student Rockford Public Schools in Illinois. He was executive director of strategic planning and assessment for the East Aurora School District, and a principal for the North Shore district, also in Illinois. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois, and a master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership and organizational change from the University of Illinois.

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2633. Follow her on Twitter @gailnews.

Gail Schontzler covers schools and Montana State University for the Chronicle.

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