HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – Havre Public Schools Superintendent Craig Mueller spoke with New Media Broadcasters on Wednesday to discuss a variety of topics as the school year heads into the final stretch.
Mueller, who replaced Andy Carlson on an interim basis last summer, was offered a three-year contract by the School Board at their most recent meeting. This came after Mueller initially stated his intent to step down from the position this summer.
“It’s a great honor. I appreciate that the Board even took me into consideration and accepted my application and listened to my interview. It was a very difficult decision. At the time back in January, there were some things going on that I wasn’t sure that I was necessarily…it’s really tough to say. I looked at the opportunity that presented itself in Havre and I thought long and hard about the people I get to work with every day. I knew that this was going to be a difficult decision. Was hoping I could have some time to consider it and the impact it would have on my family. As it turned out, that’s what happened. At the beginning, I thought it was easier to let the Board know that at that time in January, I wasn’t going to be interested because there was an offer that they were considering making and extending me a contract. I wanted to give the Board an opportunity to engage in a longer search and potentially get some candidates from across the country and across the state of Montana. As the deadline approached, I became more interested in the position as I thought about all the opportunities we have here in Havre and also the work that needed to continue to be done, much of that that I was already engaged in.”
Now that Mueller has been named the Superintendent on a more permanent basis, he says there are several priorities he is eager to get to work on.
“We’ll be engaging in our strategic planning sessions over the course of the summer. That really sets the long term goals of the District. That strategic planning process was really on hold until that decision was made by the Board to offer me a longer term contract. So that is one area that I’m really looking forward too, because a part of that is obviously beyond the scope of instruction to students. We start to talk in greater length about facilities and planning and what that can mean for our District as a whole.”
Other priorities Mueller cited include reviewing curricular areas, hiring for the positions of Curriculum Director, Human Resources director, and the Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at Havre High School.
“We know now that we are going to have an opportunity to have some flexibilities in new positions in our District to help address some of the gaps that were created in the pandemic and our students. But also to make new opportunities for our students and flexibilities to address the need that they have in their learning. Those are all things that now as the Superintendent going forward for the next couple of years, we’ll be able to address.”
Conclusion of the School Year
With just under two months left in the school year, Mueller says COVID-19 case rates at the District have remained low as they have continued in their four-days-a-week of in-person learning schedule.
This has allowed the District to not only continuing educating students in a face-to-face format, but to also add other layers of normalcy back to the calendar, such as the senior prom that is scheduled for this Saturday.
“There’s a really good plan in place at Havre High School for our prom on Saturday night. I think our students are excited about that opportunity, and it brings a little sense of normalcy back to think that we’re going to be able to have not only a prom, but looking forward and making plans for our upcoming graduation, which is very exciting and a real tribute to our seniors who have endured so much over the course of this year and dating back to the spring of last year. Prom is important because it marks one of those checked boxes of what a high school career looks like. So I think it will bring some closure to the end of our senior class’ year.”
Plans for graduation, which is scheduled for Sunday, May 30th, have not been finalized. Mueller says he hopes to hold an outdoor ceremony similar to the one that took place last year.
“If we can replicate that, we’ll be very, very lucky. We’re going to have a couple of plans in place for graduation.”
As of the latest update, there were no active COVID-19 cases associated with the District.
Mueller says they will readdress the District’s mask mandate and reopening plan at next Tuesday’s Board meeting.