Middleton hires new superintendent named Middleton

Middleton School District staff and students should have no problem learning the name of their next superintendent.

Middleton LogoSchool board members Monday evening voted unanimously to hire Josh Middleton to lead their district, beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

Middleton most recently served as assistant superintendent for the Billings School District in Montana before retiring in 2014. During his 28-year education career, he has also served as a classroom teacher and the superintendent of the Laurel, Mont., school district.

He earned an educational leadership doctorate from Montana State University, and previously obtained a master’s degree, district officials said.

Middleton lives in Tucson, Ariz., but told district leaders he will relocate to Idaho and begin house-hunting after the new year.

Board members made the hire in front of a standing-room only crowd that included several district staff members and dozens of students who later sang holiday music for the audience.

Middleton will replace outgoing Superintendent Richard Bauscher, who will retire on June 30. Bauscher has led the Canyon County-based district since 2001, but announced his retirement in October.

The three other finalists for the vacancy were:

  • Jana Iverson from Nyssa, Ore.
  • Monica White from Caldwell’s Canyon Springs High School.
  • Trevor Wilson of Provo, Utah.

After his retirement announcement this fall, Bauscher and Assistant Superintendent Mike Friend organized a national search that attracted 14 applicants.

District leaders narrowed the applicant pool down to the four finalists in late November, while a 15-member search committee representing the community and the district’s six schools vetted the finalists’ resumes and qualifications.

Bauscher, Richard
Richard Bauscher

Board members interviewed the finalists during a Dec. 7 executive session.

During a break in the meeting, Friend and Bauscher both expressed confidence in Middleton’s hiring and the overall search process.

“I’m very pleased to see we attracted a fairly good number of out-of-state candidates,” Friend said. “That speaks well to the fact that in changing times we can attract quality candidates from other states who most likely don’t know Middleton.”

Bauscher said Middleton’s experience with rural schools in the West should help him feel at home and be embraced by the community once he arrives in Middleton.

“It is interesting to look at his background,” Bauscher said. “A lot of the things he was involved with parallel with us.

“And it’s nice that the name Middleton is coming to Middleton.”

Middleton will join a growing district, which has seen its enrollment increase by about 5 percent annually. This year, the district added eight teachers to accommodate an enrollment increase of 158 students, Bauscher said.

One of Middleton’s first major initiatives with the district will likely be to run a bond issue campaign to build a new elementary school to manage growth. In other action Monday, board members unanimously approved a purchase agreement for a 14.5-acre plot of land upon which the new school will be built, subject to approval of the forthcoming bond issue.

Middleton did not attend Monday’s meeting, but spoke with district leaders by phone earlier in the day, Friend said.

District leaders will also need to decide how to replace Friend, who works part-time with the district but will also retire after the school year. Bauscher, Friend and school board members said they agreed to identify Bausch’s replacement before addressing the assistant superintendent’s position.