The Three Forks School Board decided Monday night that High School Principal Robert DoBell will be the new superintendent of the district.
DoBell will replace long-time Three Forks educator Jerry Breen. Breen spent 28 years in the district and two years teaching in Michigan. With 30 years under his belt, Breen can now retire with a healthy roster of benefits.
“I thought it was just time,” Breen said. “It’s time to let someone else step in and do the job. I’ve had a great career here.”
DoBell has been with the school for a year and a half. He joined the district after working for 12 years in Stevensville. DoBell started out in Ravalli County as a Spanish and Social Studies teacher. He spent four years at the post before moving into a position as the curriculum director and vice-principal of Stevensville High School.
The new superintendent earned his Master’s Degree in Education and Technology from the University of Montana. DoBell recently completed the work to earn his Educational Doctorate Degree, also from UM.
In 2012, DoBell nudged out five finalists from around the state to secure the Three Forks Middle and High School Principal job. Former Three Forks Superintendent John Overstreet said DoBell was picked for his strong background in technology, his ideals about educating the “whole child,” and his involvement with many extracurricular activities.
Three Forks School Board Chairman Dale Kober said DoBell was chosen as the new superintendent for many of the same reasons.
“We figured we need DoBell as far as leadership, education and foresight going down the road,” Kober said. “What schools need to have is a curriculum up-to-date. He’s really up to date with technology.”
Kober also said DoBell has done a good job getting the middle and high school ready for nationwide initiatives like the Common Core that will be fully implemented in the 2014-2015 school year.
The Three Forks School Board Trustees decision was a tough one.
“We had two great finalists,” Kober said. “It was very, very, very close.”
The other contender was Ennis High School Principal John Sullivan. Two trustees voted in favor of hiring Sullivan. The other three endorsed DoBell.
Sullivan has worked in the Ennis School District for 17 years. He taught computer and business classes before taking the principal gig in 2008.
After DoBell learned he earned the top job, he said he was elated.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to working with every single person in the district as opposed to just middle school and high school,” DoBell said. “I think our school is already a great school but it will be that much better as we get to involve everyone in the conversation.”
DoBell said he is looking forward to carrying on the district’s educational standards and strong community relations.
During his interview with the Three Forks School Board Tuesday afternoon, DoBell said that with his advanced doctorate degree he would be comfortable taking a salary between $85,000 and $87,000. School board trustees will offer DoBell $84,000 for the job.
Current Superintendent Jerry Breen will finish out his second year as superintendent before DoBell takes the reigns for the 2013-2014 school year.
Breen said he thinks DoBell will do a fine job.
“I’m excited for Mr. DoBell and happy for him,” Breen said. “I think he’ll do a great job as the next superintendent of Three Forks. I’m glad the decision has been made and we’re moving forward.”
Before he retires, Breen says he will be busy. The district must now find a replacement for the vacant high school principal position.
“I’m not done,” Breen said. “I’ve got a lot of work to do between now when I retire.”
The Three Forks High School Principal job will be listed on the Montana Office of Public Instruction website in the next week or so, Kober said. DoBell earned $74,000 a year in the principal position.