Superintendent candidates interviewed
The four candidates for Columbus Public Schools superintendent were in town to interview and meet school staff and the public last week.
Hannah Nieskens and Eldon “Chad” Johnson interviewed on Jan. 14, while Mike Yovetich and Jeff Bermes interviewed on Jan. 15. The candidates met with teachers, staff, and board members during the day before meeting members of the public during a meet and greet session and being interviewed in the evening.
Hannah Nieskens said Columbus is a community that she and her husband feel they connect with. Nieskens’ husband coaches in Wolf Point and they stayed in the same hotel as a number of people from Columbus during state tournaments several years ago.
It was such a positive experience, she said, because the people from Columbus were so gracious.
Nieskens said she would bring a diverse background to the Columbus superintendent position. That background includes experience teaching in elementary, middle, and high school, professional development, and administration. Additionally, she is currently pursuing her third professional degree, this time in law.
Neiskens said she does not intend to practice law as she has always wanted to be a superintendent, but a background in education law can help to prevent a lot of problems.
Nieskens is currently the school principal at Northside Elementary in Wolf Point, Mont. She has worked in education since 2000. Nieskens has a B.S. in Elementary Education and an Honors Baccalaureate from MSU Bozeman, a M.Ed. in Education Technology from Lesley University, and is currently a second year law student at Concord Law School.
Eldon “Chad” Johnson
Eldon “Chad” Johnson has a personal interest in Columbus for a number of reasons, he said, including the quality of the schools and the top-quality teaching team. Johnson also said current superintendent Al Sipes has been a mentor to him on a professional level.
Johnson said some of the things he can bring to the superintendent position in Columbus are experience establishing a well-received budget, and a teamwork approach to leadership.
Johnson has a B.S. in Secondary Education and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from MSU Bozeman.
Mike Yovetich will bring his energy and experience to the superintendent position, he said. Yovetich said he has worked closely with the superintendent and assistant superintendent in Post Falls.
Yovetich is from Laurel originally and has been looking to come back to Montana and find a superintendent position. He said he likes Columbus and likes the small-town atmosphere in the community.
Yovetich is the principal at River City Middle School in Post Falls, Idaho. He has a B.A. in History from University of Montana and a M.Ed. in Secondary School Administration from MSU Bozeman.
Jeff Bermes said he will bring consistency and a common sense approach to the superintendent position. This includes looking at both sides and doing what is best for everyone as a group, he said.
Bermes is interested in coming to Columbus for the challenge of working in a district with more students and staff. He said Columbus is a great school system, and something that he wants to be a part of.
Bermes is currently the superintendent of schools in Joliet, Mont. He attended MSU Bozeman before earning a B.S. in Elementary Education from MSU Billings and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from University of Montana.