The Bozeman School District has released the names of six finalists for two openings for high school principals.

Superintendent Rob Watson released the names Tuesday. The list includes two Bozeman school administrators, two from Gallatin Valley schools and two from outside Montana.

The public is invited to meet the candidates Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and submit comments to the selection committees. The event will be at Bozeman High School in Berg Library on the second floor of the North Classroom Building.

The finalists are alphabetically:

n Renee Devore, principal of Deer Path Middle School in West Lake Forest, Illinois, from 2012 to 2018. She also was principal at El Segundo Middle School in California from 2008 to 2012, assistant principal there in 2007-2008, and an English teacher at Mission Bay High School in San Diego from 2004 to 2007. She got her undergraduate education at Southern New Hampshire University and master’s degree in educational leadership from San Diego State University.

n Sarah Hays, principal at Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman from 2013 to present. She was assistant principal of Bozeman High from 2012 to 2013, curriculum director from 2010 to 2012, and a Bozeman High English and math teacher from 1993 to 2010. Hays got her undergraduate degree and master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction from Montana State University and administrative endorsement from the University of Montana.

n Dan Mills, assistant principal of Athens High School in Troy, Michigan, from 2015 to present. He was an English teacher and department chair at Athens High from 2007 to 2015. He got his undergraduate education at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan at Flint and a master’s degree in English and education specialist degree at Oakland University in Michigan.

n Justin Helvik, principal for grades six to 12 for the Three Forks School District from 2014 to present. He was principal at Frank Brattin Middle School in Colstrip from 2011 to 2014, and a high school and middle school science teacher in Harlowtown from 2006 to 2011.

He got his undergraduate education at Rocky Mountain College and master’s degree in educational leadership and educational specialists degree from MSU.

n Bert Horsley, assistant principal at Belgrade High School from 2014 to the present. He was a special education teacher at Belgrade High from 2012 to 2014, and at Belgrade Middle School from 2010 to 2012. He was co-chair of the special education department at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia, from 2007 to 2010. He got his undergraduate education at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and master’s degrees in special education from Liberty University in Richmond and educational leadership from Lynchburg College.

  • Erica Schnee, assistant principal at Bozeman High School from 2015 to the present. She was a social studies teacher at Bozeman High from 2006 to 2015, department chair from 2010 to 2015, and a social studies teacher at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado, from 1998 to 2006. She got her undergraduate degree from MSU and graduate degrees in educational administration from the University of Phoenix.

The school district is looking for one principal for Bozeman High School to replace Kevin Conwell, who retired last month after coming down with a polio-like disease, acute flaccid myelitis, which causes paralysis.

The district is also hiring a principal for the community’s second high school, which is under construction in Oak and Cottonwood streets. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, but the new principal would start work this year.

Watson has said he hopes to check references and make a hiring recommendation to the Bozeman School Board on Feb. 25.

In Conwell’s absence, Katie Laslovich, one of the high school’s three assistant principals, has been serving as interim principal. Schnee has been working to help prepare for the transition to two high schools.

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

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