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Juneau superintendent a finalist for Mont. job

He will interview for Kalispell's superintendent post next month

Posted: December 18, 2013 - 1:02am

The Kalispell Public Schools Board of Trustees Tuesday night named Juneau School District Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich a finalist for the superintendent position in Kalispell, Mont., according to a report by the Kalispell Daily Inter Lake.

Gelbrich will travel to Montana during the interview process, slated for Jan. 13 and 14 of 2014.

“In this process, you apply based on what you know, and they select candidates for interviews based on what they know. During the interview and visit phase you make sure that’s a match,” Gelbrich said. “If there’s a match, then yeah, I would go.”

The job does not start until July, and Gelbrich has no plans to leave Juneau any sooner.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do here, and none of that gets put on hold,” Gelbrich told the Empire during a break in the Juneau School Board meeting Tuesday night.

“If next year I’m to be somewhere else, that doesn’t change what we have to do here,” he added.

He told the Empire that he has not applied for any other positions.

Gelbrich has family in Oregon, and said that his decision to apply for this position was based on personal and professional reasons.

“They’re really moving the needle for students,” Gelbrich said.

The Kalispell superintendent oversees about 5,900 students at two high schools, one middle school and five elementary schools, as well as an alternative school program. The position also leads a team of 690 employees.

By comparison, Juneau has about 5,000 students at three high schools, two middle schools and seven elementary schools. There are 745 employees here.

The Kalispell superintendent position pays $125,000 per year plus benefits (depending on experience), compared to the $155,000 salary Gelbrich currently earns.

Kalispell’s total budget is $66.6 million, and Juneau’s is $77.8 million.

Gelbrich said that any changes in the public perception of himself were not factors in his decision to apply for another job.

Gelbrich and the school board have come under fire in recent months as a pair of hotly contested issues — a ban on middle school sports travel and the ongoing negotiation over a new collective bargaining agreement between the district and its teachers — have taken center stage.

“My job is to implement the will of the board,” Gelbrich said.

He added that his decision to apply for the Kalispell position would not affect how he handles the ongoing negotiations with the Juneau Education Association.

“The conversations with the teachers union align with the wishes of the board,” Gelbrich said. “That’s my job up until my last day here, whether that’s June 30, 2014, or June 30, 2020.”

• Contact reporter Matt Woolbright at 523-2243 or at matthew.woolbright@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @reportermatt.

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