The Darby School Board has selected Victor K-8 principal Dan Johnston as the new part-time superintendent.
Johnston is a familiar face at Darby as he was the principal for grades 7-12 for three years. Since then, he has been the Victor school principal (grades 7-12 for 14 years and K-8 for two years).
Johnston said leaving Victor after 16 years will be difficult.
“The folks at Victor School and the community of Victor have been so good to my family and I,” he said. “Together we have accomplished so much, from raising two-million dollars to build a performing arts center and new high school, being the first school in Montana to initiate the four-day school week to being second only to Eureka to implement a one-to-one computer initiative.”
Johnston’s wife, Debbie Johnston, teaches sixth grade at Darby schools. They raised four children who graduated from Darby High School.
Johnston said transferring to Darby as the superintendent is exciting because the Darby Schools are progressive and innovative.
“Starting with bringing fiber optics to the school and town of Darby, being the first school in Montana to adopt a full personalized learning model to impactful learning opportunities such as STEAM labs in the elementary, middle school and high school,” Johnston said. “Darby is a great community with a fantastic school, awesome students and an outstanding staff. It is my honor and privilege to work there.”
Johnston began his 32-year career in education with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education and a Master of Science degree in instructional leadership from New Mexico State University. He taught in St. Ignatius for four years and Kirtland, New Mexico, for nine years before coming to Montana.
Johnston is currently a third-year doctoral student studying Agricultural Education from both Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University. He hopes to write his dissertation this fall and graduate in the spring of 2019.
Johnston will start work as part-time superintendent in Darby on July 1.
“Being the superintendent is no easy task and doing so at half-time will offer many challenges,” he said. “Fortunately my predecessor Loyd Rennaker has laid the groundwork to pave the way for me. Darby Schools will continue to be the center point of the community and provide cutting edge opportunities.”
Johnston said his personal mission is to develop a staff committed to positively influencing all students.
“This can only happen by continuing with a warm and welcoming environment that embraces a culture of learning,” he said. “I have an open door policy and would ask that folks come be a part of this progressive, innovative and caring school.”
The Darby School Board, in a newsletter, said they are excited to have Johnston on board.