Please join us in welcoming our new Board of Trustees members!
Contact info: https://www.facebook.com/armstrong4helenaschools
Education: BS International Affairs Western Europe, US Air Force Academy
Occupation: Former Air Force Officer; Customer Experience Coordinator, TJX Companies
Relevant experience: My career in the military as well as several post-military opportunities make me uniquely qualified to serve as a Trustee on the Helena School Board. I have managed and led several organizations. My working titles have included: Director of Personnel, Quality Advisor, Chief of Training and Flight Instructor. When my children were young, I had the great privilege of working from home and volunteering my time to their schools (classroom volunteer), sporting activities (soccer coach) and throughout the Helena community. I have been on the Board of HYSA, and served as a volunteer for The Helena Food Share, HYSA, Queen City Football Club, Cathedral of St Helena, and Family Promise.
What are the three key issues facing the school district? Helena has great public schools but there is always room for improvement. One, I would love to help make a positive difference in our public schools by continuing to ensure that our budget is viable for many years to come. Two, we need to continue to address facilities’ needs. While we have 3 amazing new elementary schools, we also have very old facilities (Helena High School) and extremely crowded schools (C R Anderson) . Three, I also believe that the District would benefit by improving communication with parents, students, and the larger community. I want to repair the disconnect that I am seeing after the Covid-19 crisis.
How would you rate the school district’s COVID-19 response so far, and what would you like to see going forward? The school district’s response mirrors the confusing message the entire nation received last year. I fully comprehend that it has been extremely difficult for everyone. Most of us know someone who has lost a loved one. While I am not home schooling and dealing with multiple platforms, my children are and have lived alone in their college dorm rooms almost every hour of every day this year. I believe that following the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Harvard Global Health Initiative was an appropriate choice. However, I also believe that the school district needs to work on improving its communication with the community. Balancing the need to keep safety first during an ongoing emergency, while also meeting the crucial need of families to know when and how school will function is a difficult task and there are lessons to be learned from our response. As challenging and frightening as this year has been, it has also spurred great innovation in the classroom. I believe that this summer will provide time for the board to reflect on the lessons that were learned and to conduct a post-mortem, of sorts, to devise strategies for future crises and to retain helpful innovations created over the last year. What I do not doubt is the intent of our educational community to rise as best as they can to meet the needs of the students, regardless of the situation. Going forward I want to see the number of infections going down so that we can, with innovation, safely meet in community-have art shows, family nights, open houses, sports practices and so on. The importance of our schools in connecting our communities is quite clear after this past year.
What do you hope to accomplish on the board? I hope to accomplish the following. One, I want to ensure the new superintendent has the support needed so that we can stop the negative impact of turnover from leadership change and instead focus on long term planning. Two, I want to improve messaging and connection between the school district and the community. Three, I will work to get the budget in line with our financial resources. Four, I will connect with the state legislature about the importance and necessity of public education in order to improve public funding. Five, I plan to continue addressing facilities’ needs. Finally, I intend to serve as a thoughtful and unifying voice in this amazing community.
Contact info: email@example.com
Education: I am a product of Helena Public Schools, attending grades 1 through 4 at Emerson, now May Butler, then grades 5 through 8 at Central. One year in Helena Junior High School and 3 years in the new Helena High School. I was then off to college at the University of Colorado. As a sophomore I transferred to Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Colorado. My Bachelor of Science in biology is from Colorado State College and my graduate work is from there also. I continue to be a life-long learner, fully recognizing that education has been my road to success.
“Every moment is a teachable moment”
Occupation: I have taught and coached for 37 years in Helena School District #1 which has given me the perspective of what can be expected from a school board trustee. I also have a full and diverse life as a tax-paying citizen of Helena which is a perspective representative of all who can be assured that fiscal responsibility is essential as a school trustee.
During the summers I worked in multiple functions for the U.S. Forest Service for 44 years. Upon retirement from teaching I took full time employment through the Helena National Forest, retiring from that in 2005 as the Helena National Forest Urban Interface Forester.
Relevant experience: I have served as a school board trustee for the past 18 years, serving Helena School District Number One. I take pride in addressing all problems through the scientific method of problem solving and hopefully come to conclusions that are educationally sound, fiscally responsible, and socially acceptable.
What are the three key issues facing the school district? There will never be a shortage of issues that need to be addressed in any school district. As a trustee, one can choose to represent other members of the board on sub-committees of: Teaching and learning, Buildings and Facilities, Health and Wellness, Budget and Programming, or Legislation and Montana School Board Representation. A wide background of interest and willingness to collaborate in understanding the many intricacies of school business helps to shorten the learning curve.
Multiple key issues facing our district today will be incrementally resolved over extended periods of evolving work. Limitations of financial resources is in general a major factor in resolving most issues.
I personally recognize the following as issues I perceive as being critical. Their resolutions are complex, but yet simple by striving to do “what is best for our students.”
How would you rate the school district’s COVID-19 response so far, and what would you like to see going forward? Each and every parent who has a child enrolled in Helena School District #1 entrusts our educators, our administrators, and our school board to be fully responsible in all facets of security and safety for their most precious gifts. My most prized possession and I’m sure yours are your children. HSD #1 strives 100% of the time to ensure that your child or your grandchildren are in the most secure and safe environment that we can feasibly create. In that light educators, administrators, and board members have reacted to the evolving parameters of Covid-19 in the most prudent manner. The health and safety of our children is not something to be compromised. It is recognized that some other school districts reacted differently in various applications toward Covid-19, but it was with the prime concern of each and every child in our district that our district has reacted, and will react in the future. We have relied on the professional sciences concerning the case of Covid-19 to direct and confirm our response to protect the health and safety of your children in our school district.
What do you hope to accomplish on the board? If a board member feels that he or she is in position to address a single issue to resolve, they will find it extremely difficult to accomplish. The actions of collaboration and cooperation lead toward competent board members and accomplishments. All of the issues, all of the policies, all of the endeavors of the district are based on “what is best for students”. Accomplishments are not results of board members but we see that educators create accomplishments. The role of board members is to support the ideas, innovation and processes of classroom teachers in doing what is best for students.
Our support of educational theory or financial assistance allows our educators to do the hard work. Their hard work leads to accomplishments. In our recent building program of three new elementary schools, it was not an accomplishment of our school board but the hard work was done by educators and our community. The board merely provided the support necessary for others to accomplish.