By Kay Braddock
Terry School board members voted 4-1 to hire Casey Klasna as the school’s superintendent for the 2010-11 school year. Klasna has worked in the school district as the junior high and high school history teacher, along with teaching physical education for the past five years. Last year Klasna served as the school’s athletic director.
The vote came after an hour-long discussion that included a telephone interview with Montana State University professor Rich Shaffer, who has been instructing Klasna in graduate course work.
Although Klasna has yet to complete graduate work needed to obtain his superintendent certification, the intern program Shaffer outlined during the phone conversation allows the school to hire Klasna while he earns the required accreditation.
“If you choose to do this, you certainly will not be the first,” Shaffer said, listing a dozen other schools that have participated in the program, including Sidney, Sunburst, Colstrip and Denton.
The intern program began 10 years ago as a result of a “serious shortage of certified school administrators at rural schools,” Shaffer explained.
The annual $2,500 fee to belong to the MSU intern program can be paid by the school district or the intern, according to Shaffer.
Board member Sherry Strasheim, who offered up the only nay vote, stressed a desire to open the position to all candidates available.
“I don’t have a problem with Casey or his qualifications or his work ethic,” Strasheim said, adding that it’s the board’s responsibility to open the position to all available applicants.
Board member Elton Stickel disagreed.
“He’s got my vote of confidence,” Stickel said of Klasna. “ He’s already in the community. The community already knows him.”
Shaffer addressed the issue of opening the position to available candidates when asked by Superintendent Charles Deisher.
“At this time of year my opinion is that you’re not going to find anyone out there that you’re going to want to keep,” Shaffer said.
Klasna provided the board with a list of stipulations, which was approved by the board as long as all stipulations are legal.
The list included:
A one-year contract beginning August 2 through June 30
Receive orientation and compensation at teacher’s salary until August 20
Full family medical coverage
School pays $2,500 for MSU intern program
School pays remaining tuition on graduate work to MSU, estimated at $7,500
Same days off as teaching staff, as identified in the adopted school calendar, days shall not accumulate or carry over, nor subject to payout
Seven paid personal days
Vacation and sick days as required by law (12 sick days and 15 vacation days)
Although currently Deisher is paid a $58,000 annual salary, a graph from the Montana Association of School Superintendents, provided during the meeting by Deisher shows the average pay for Class C superintendents in Montana during the 2009-10 school year was $66,562.
“I understand that there’s a lot of responsibilities,” Klasna told board members during Thursday evening’s special meeting. “ … But I’m up for the task.”
Aug. 4, 2010