Community meets with GFPS superintendent candidates

Posted at 2:32 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 19:16:11-05

GREAT FALLS- On Sunday, Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS) gave people a chance to meet with finalists for the position of superintendent. The community meet-and-greet was held at Paris Gibson Education Center from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Three candidates remain in the running for superintendent of Great Falls Public Schools, and two of them already work for the school system.

Jon Konen has worked for GFPS since 2007 serving as a principal, instructional coach and teacher at Lincoln Elementary. He says his interest in being the next superintendent stems from his desire to impact more students.

“I would love to be able to impact all of the students in Great Falls public schools,” says Konen. “I believe I have an energy and a passion that’s hopefully contagious for teachers and for kids to be able to learn, I want to be able to spread that across our whole district.”

The next candidate, Thomas Moore, currently serves GFPS as the assistant superintendent of secondary education. He has held this role since 2007. He says the leadership team that he has been a part of has taken the district in a good direction, and now he wants to take the reins to help maintain that momentum.

“I want to be a part of that vision to bring Great Falls back to a sense of prominence around the state, where people want to come here and live here and stay here, raise their children here,” explains Moore. “There are a lot of great opportunities and a lot of very good people in this community and I want to continue to be a part of that educational leadership.”

The final candidate, Gregory Nyen comes from the state of Wisconsin, where he has worked as superintendent for the school district of Waupaca since 2016. Nyen says this opportunity caught his attention because he has long desired to make Montana home, and the Electric City comes with a reputation.

“Great Falls is already known as a premier district in the state of Montana and I want to be part of something that is already in great standing,” says Nyen.

When asked wherein they would focus as superintendent, all the candidates said funding was a major priority. Additionally, Konen said another focus for him would be an increase in attention to students with social, emotional learning issues.

Moore says beyond budget, he wants to increase public engagement with the school district.

According to a press release from GFPS, the GFPS Board of Trustees will interview the candidates on January 15, starting at 4:00 p.m., in the Aspen Conference Room located in the Great Falls Public Schools District Office Building. On January 16, 2019, at 5:30 p.m., the board will deliberate and will likely take action on their selection for the next superintendent.

Below we have included a more extensive list of each candidate’s credentials provided by GFPS.

Jon Konen – Since 2007, Mr. Konen has been employed by Great Falls Public Schools as the K-6 principal, instructional coach and 5th Grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary. He has previously served as the K-12 principal and athletic director with Power Public Schools and as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in Somers Public Schools. Mr. Konen has a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Montana State University. Mr. Konen obtained his Montana superintendent endorsement in 2016 from the University of Montana.

Thomas Moore – Mr. Moore is currently serving as the assistant superintendent 7-12 for Great Falls Public Schools and has held this position since 2007. Previously, Mr. Moore held the positions of middle school assistant principal, middle school principal and elementary principal with West Valley School District in Spokane, Washington, and teaching positions with the Coeur d’Alene Public Schools, Lakeland Public Schools, and North Idaho Christian High School in Idaho. Mr. Moore has a master’s degree in education and administration from the University of Idaho, and a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management/biology from the University of Wisconsin. Mr. Moore obtained his superintendent certification from Gonzaga University.

Gregory Nyen – Mr. Nyen is currently serving as the superintendent of schools for the School District of Waupaca in the state of Wisconsin and has held that position since 2016. Mr. Nyen also serves as an adjunct professor with the University of Wisconsin. Previous positions held by Mr. Nyen in Wisconsin include assistant superintendent of pupil services for Stevens Point Area Public School District, director of pupil services for the School District of Phillips, and school psychologist for the School District of Holmen. Mr. Nyen has a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire), a master’s degree in school psychology from the University of Wisconsin (Stout), and an administrator’s license from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Mr. Nyen obtained his education specialist degree in educational leadership from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and his Doctor of Education in educational leadership and policy from the University of Wisconsin (Oshkosh).

Reporting by Joe Huisinga for MTN News