Deal near for new school leader

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Mark Flatau

By the end of the week, Kalispell may have a new school superintendent.

Negotiations are under way over a contract with Mark Flatau for the Kalispell Public Schools superintendent position.

“We’re very, very close to having a contract that I think both sides can live with,” school board chairman Frank Miller said during a special meeting Tuesday.

“We’re possibly looking at a three-year contract.”

Board members approved hiring Flatau contingent on a board-approved contract.

Miller said he hopes a deal will be reached this week.

The board action follows a positive report from trustees Jack Fallon and Joe Brenneman, who visited Flatau’s Cle Elum-Roslyn School District in Washington state Thursday and Friday.

Brenneman and Fallon visited with school staffers along with parents, students, media and law enforcement. They made stops at places such as a bakery, coffee shop, barbershop and diner to get the community’s take on Flatau.

Brenneman and Fallon were encouraged by the responses they received.

Brenneman said it was clear Flatau had good rapport with students and staff. He added that the community seemed supportive of Flatau.

Fallon said Flatau appeared knowledgeable in all areas of running a school district. Brenneman said he was satisfied with Flatau’s knowledge in financial management, administrative structure and curriculum development.

Based on their conversations with people, the two trustees also noted Flatau’s transparency, responsiveness and ability to manage crises.

Brenneman concluded that Flatau was highly qualified and capable of making the transition to a larger school district.

The Cle Elum-Roslyn district that Flatau heads has 950 students; Kalispell has 5,800.

Flatau would succeed Darlene Schottle, who is stepping down at the end of June after 11 years at the helm of Kalispell Public Schools.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or by email at

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