Mark Thane

Mark Thane

It's official.

Mark Thane will serve as Missoula County Public Schools interim superintendent for the coming school year.

Trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of the $145,000 contract, with trustees Jim Sadler and Diane Lorenzen absent.

Thane said he's appreciative and enthused about being superintendent.

"So thank you and I'm ready to dig in," he told trustees.

Thane has more than 30 years of experience in education, largely with MCPS. His roles have included those of classroom teacher, principal, executive regional director and human resources director.

The Montana native takes the helm of MCPS in the midst of its push for the $88 million elementary district and $70 million high school bond measures in November.

In April, trustees voted to offer the one-year position to Thane after an interview process. Thane was the only internal candidate to apply after current Superintendent Alex Apostle announced he was retiring to take another superintendent job in Washington state.

Benefits in the contract include sick, vacation and personal days, and a life insurance policy, as well as a monthly contribution by the district of $1,875 to a TSA of choice.

Trustees still must discuss whether to look for a long-term superintendent through a regional or national search process or to offer an extended contract to Thane.

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Also during Tuesday's board meeting, outgoing trustees Sadler and Chairman Joseph Knapp Jr. were honored for their years of service on the board.

Sadler, who served 21 years, was unseated by Lisa Triepke in the May 5 election, while Knapp opted not to run for re-election after six years on the school board.

Both Sadler and Knapp said they are honored to have served on the board and that MCPS is a leader in providing exceptional opportunities to kids.

"It has remarkable human beings and it turns out remarkable human beings," Knapp said about the district's employees and students.

Everyone is thanking him, Sadler said, but he turned the appreciation to others.

"I want to thank you because it's a great honor to have served the district," he said.

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