In my first communication to you as the new superintendent of our school district, I want you to know that I am humbled by the unique and challenging timing of taking over this role. While there are clearly many challenges ahead, I am grateful to be entrusted in this position. I am committed to leading Kalispell Public Schools with all my heart. Thank you in advance for your support as we move forward together.
I would first like to thank and commend Mark Flatau on his exceptional leadership of our district for the last six years. He has set the bar high. I wish him well in his retirement and hope to see him out on the river catching lots of fish!
Many of you probably know some of my background so I will be brief. I graduated from Polson High School where I also met my wife, Nicole. We attended MSU for our undergraduate degrees and I later obtained a graduate degree from UM. We have raised our three children, Noah, Annie and Simon, here in Kalispell where we’ve lived since 1998. Kalispell Public Schools has given our kids the gift of wonderful and enriching school experiences full of opportunities to grow and succeed. As of this fall, they are all off to college! My previous roles within the district for the past 19 years have also provided me many opportunities to grow and lead, giving me a broad understanding of our district. I am proud to say that I have been shaped by the values and vision within our district and community. When I reflect on my life, family and career I am filled with gratitude. What an honor it is for me to work with all of you!
I feel confident and excited about the future of our district. In the coming year, I will be working with the Board of Trustees to focus on several key goals which include developing a strategic plan that addresses the financial stability of our district, long range facility planning, and continued improvement in student achievement. I look forward to fostering excellent working relationships with our Board of Trustees, administrative teams, district staff, families, students and broader community in order to serve and support our district in the best way possible. I am 100 percent committed to continuing a legacy of educational excellence in our district.
I’m sure you’ll agree the most pressing issue at present is COVID-19. I am aware that there are many questions surrounding the plans for the reopening of our schools this coming fall. Please know that we are diligently thinking through and planning this re-entry. We are very optimistic and are planning for in-person instruction. However, reopening will likely come with some necessary modifications to minimize the health risks for our students, staff and families. Additionally, it is also necessary for us to plan for contingencies in the event that governing agencies issue a mandate for periods of remote instruction due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. We are expecting additional guidance from the Montana Office of Public Instruction as well as state and local public health authorities. Over the next couple of weeks I will be meeting with AA superintendents and Flathead Valley superintendents to collaborate and develop transition plans for reopening this fall. You can expect further communication from me regarding this in the near future. Through this challenging situation and whatever it brings, our district is committed to providing a high quality education for the students we serve.
By now we have learned that we simply cannot anticipate all the challenging situations that we will face in our lives and communities. I am already impressed by the resilience, support and grace demonstrated by our district staff and families during this very unusual period of time. My door is always open, and I will strive to take time to listen and talk with you in support of our students and staff.