Mark Thane

Mark Thane

Only one applicant submitted his name for consideration to be Missoula County Public Schools' interim superintendent for the coming year.

Mark Thane, who currently serves as the district’s director of human resources and labor relations, will be interviewed by trustees during a special board meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Sentinel High School’s cafeteria.

Trustees decided earlier this month to hire an interim superintendent out of the current employee pool, rather than searching outside of the district. Several said they preferred an internal hire because the person would already be well versed in district initiatives and projects, including the $88 million elementary district and $70 million high school district bond measures set for the November election.

The position became open when current Superintendent Alex Apostle announced in March that he is leaving at the end of the school year for a superintendent post in Washington.

While several MCPS employees are superintendent caliber, trustees knew that the number of applicants likely would be small, and school board chairman Joseph Knapp Jr. said he’s not surprised that only one person applied.

Wednesday’s special board meeting will serve as a job interview, which will include several questions given to Thane beforehand as well as a dialogue between trustees and Thane, Knapp said.

“And we’ll see who wants to make a motion and what the motion will be,” he said.

Thane has experience as a classroom teacher at MCPS, as well as administrative experience as a former principal at Target Range School District, C.S. Porter Middle School and Chief Charlo Elementary School.

Before becoming human resources director, Thane served as an executive regional director for MCPS.

Implementation of the district’s Achievement for All plan and building of community support for the Smart Schools 2020 facilities plan and the bond measures that will make the plans reality are top priorities for Thane.

“My understanding of the historical, political, economic and social context of the community and MCPS as well as the critical relationships I maintain within the district and the Missoula community will facilitate this work,” the Missoula native and University of Montana grad wrote in his application letter.

The interim position will be for one year and pay between $135,000 and $145,000.

Thane holds Elementary Class 1, Level 1; K-12 Principal Class 3, Level 3; and a Superintendent Class 3, Level 3, endorsements from the state Office of Public Instruction and currently makes the same salary as the executive regional directors, which is $112,000.

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