Casey Bertram mug

Casey Bertram

Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


Bozeman School’s deputy superintendent Casey Bertram will become the interim superintendent for the next school year as the district postpones launching a nationwide search for a candidate.

Bertram will become interim superintendent from July 1 through June 30, 2022, with the district beginning the superintendent search during the 2021-2022 school year. The school board voted unanimously to approve his appointment during a special meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

“I am humbled and honored and accept the role,” he said. “… We are full of hope, our district is full of very innovative and caring folks.”

Bertram and Deputy Superintendent Marilyn King have served as interim co-superintendents since Bob Connors was placed on paid administrative leave for an alleged policy violation in November. They were appointed through June 30.

In Wednesday’s meeting, Pat Strauss, human resources director with the district, said the board leadership met in the last week to discuss the interim position with King and Bertram “to gauge interest and consider optimal central office organizational structure during this interim period.”

He said several options were discussed and the group agreed to recommend Bertram as the superintendent for the 2021-2022 school year.

“I just think it gives us some good stability in the district moving forward,” said Trustee Gary Lusin.

Strauss said contract terms would be negotiated, but salary and benefits would be paid from the district’s general fund.

Trustees thanked King and Bertram for their joint service to the district over the last few months, and said they enjoyed working with them.

“Casey, we’ve known you for nine or 10 years, and I can’t think of a better person right now on an interim basis,” said Trustee Andy Willett. “I feel very, very confident that you’ll do a fantastic job.”

Trustee Douglas Fischer said he was excited, confident “and frankly relieved” to have Bertram in the interim superintendent position.

Wednesday’s meeting also opened with a moment of silence for Whittier Elementary Principal Craig Kitto, 45, who died after sustaining injuries from an avalanche Sunday.

“Casey and Marilyn, true leadership and character are truly reflected in times of crisis,” said Trustee Tanya Reinhardt. “And I thank both of you for guiding the district these past few days. You’ve been a true blessing to so many.”

The district’s Crisis Response Team has been on campus at Whittier this week to support students and staff.

“It’s been a really challenging year for Bozeman Public Schools,” Bertram said, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the superintendent situation. “And most recently and significantly, the passing of a beloved friend and colleague.”

During an earlier meeting, the school board decided an internal interim superintendent would be the best option to eliminate a potential learning curve. The trustees considered launching the search for an superintendent but there were concerns over the timeline, potential COVID-19 complications and the need for stability with the district.

The board approved a severance package for Connors worth over $290,000 on Jan. 20, formally ending his contract with the district. Few details have been shared about the possible policy violation and Connors’ termination.

Bertram said he and King would continue to work to maintain strong communication with the trustees, staff, families and community.

“We’re working on building trust that may have eroded,” he said. “There are some recent wounds and hurts to heal and we’re also tackling with tenacity some unfinished learning… We’re going to focus back on the why and the Bozeman Schools core purpose.”

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.