Originally published in the print edition of Yellowstone County News
WORDEN — Wes Coy is retiring as superintendent at Huntley Project Schools but will remain in education.
Coy announced his intent to retire on June 30 at special meeting of the Huntley School Board on Monday morning. He said he announced his plans now rather than waiting until the regular meeting on Feb. 20 to allow the board to begin planning how to replace him.
Coy has been superintendent since July 2009, coming on board while the district was in the early stages of replacing the high school building, which burned in September 2008.
“The old building was not demolished yet,” he said. “That was a big deal, building the new school, getting our kids and teachers into the building.”
Eight years later, the district is “still dealing with a couple” lingering effects of that fire, including spending the last year replacing the faulty high school roof and filing a lawsuit against the architect and contractor that designed and built the roof.
Coy has mixed feeling about leaving before that lawsuit is settled.
“Well, I would have like to have finished that,” he said. “I do regret leaving now before it’s finished,” but it’s hard to predict when the suit will be resolved, especially considering the glacial speed at which it’s progressed so far.
Coy will stay in the area, taking a position with Billings Christian Schools, a non-denominational district that offers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade studies.
Looking back, Coy said that transitioning to a Professional Learning Community, which he believes gives teachers tools they need to work collaboratively to address student needs, is a key to the district’s success moving forward.
“I truly believe that one of the most significant things we’ve done,” he said. Building a “culture where we have some teamwork has already begun to pay dividends.”
The district has also invested as much as possible in technology, improving Internet access and giving students as much hands-on experience as possible with computers, tablets and other devices.
“We spent a lot of resources staying ahead of the technological curve or as close to it as we could,” he said, looking to the future on behalf of students.
“Technology’s going to be a big part of what they do, probably,” Coy said.
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