Volume XLIV                            February 2023

No. 326

In This Issue...

  1. MASS President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. MASS and META Spring Conference Registrations
  4. MAEMSP/MASSP Award Winners
  5. SAM Youth Endowment Nominations Deadline
  6. Tech Corner
  7. CoSN Update 

Upcoming Conferences,   
Meetings, & Events

MCEC and MCASE Conference 2023:  February 22-24, Billings

Public Education Day:  March 13, Helena

MASS Spring Conference:  March 13-14, Great Northern, Helena

METAtechED:  March 13-14, Delta Colonial, Helena

** View the full SAM Calendar**   

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners! 

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SAM Leadership

Shelley Andres
Sara Novak
President Elect
KJ Poepping
Sheri Heavrin
President Elect
Rhiannon Beery
Vice President
Shawn Hendrickson
Past President
Ted Miller
Julie Hornby
President Elect
Mark Goyette
Vice President
Nicole Trahan
Past President
Kelly Kinsey
Barb Droessler
SAM Representatives
Dave Wick
Dale Olinger
President Elect
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Sara Novak
Erin Lipkind
Carol Phillips
SAM Office
Dr. Rob Watson
Executive Director
 Kim Scofield
Director of Member Services & Professional Learning
 Marcus Meyer
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances



Whatever it Takes - The Impact of the Leader

  by Dave Wick, MASS President

In our district, we have a meeting once a week of all the administrators and department leaders (food service, business office, transportation and maintenance).  One of the items in most meetings is a reflection time, where we share perspectives on leadership.  I recently asked each leader to provide one word and an explanation to the following question:  What one thing makes people follow a leader?

The responses were all thoughtful and provided a framework for discussion.  Perseverance, integrity, trust, servanthood, listening, humility, patience, teamwork, empathy, buy-in, consistency, work ethic, and humor were the key words shared, with much discussion around the complexities of the job we do every day.  The bottom line is that we do whatever it takes, to serve our communities, schools, and the people who populate them.

Sometimes as leaders we are not able to quantify the impacts we make on the people we encounter each day.  Having been in the profession long enough sometimes allows for us to have the opportunity to receive feedback that shows the impact we have had.  These are the motivating incidents and cherished interactions which keep us going.

Recently, I received an email from a former student who is in medical school and getting his MBA at Harvard.  Here’s an excerpt. 

“In finding your email, I saw that you are the Superintendent. Congrats! They could not have picked anyone better. However, I think it is unfortunate that you don’t have a more direct role with the students. You made a massive difference in my life, and I feel confident in saying that you have done the same for countless other students. You knew exactly what I needed to hear when I was trying to find my way as an awkward junior high student, and that was don’t get distracted by girls. I don’t think I would be here without that nudge exactly when I needed it. Thank you for that.”

I laughed at his email because he is referring to a remark I made one day at track practice.  He was lamenting his confusion with girls, and I said, “School and sports”.  I guess he listened, looking at his academic record and his status as an All American in track.  He did, however, mention that he had failed me by getting married. Obviously, he has never failed me or anyone else. 

Often, we think of our influence being greater on those at risk students within our school community.  Over the years, several of our most difficult students have asked to call me “Dad”, or told others that they think of me as their father.  While these students would have made me pull out whatever hair I have left if I was related to them, there is no doubt to them what influenced their lives.  It is important to remember that we influence others across the spectrum within our school communities, in everything we say, do, and write.  That may seem burdensome, but keeping in mind the traits mentioned earlier and taking a “whatever it takes” approach to daily leadership is a certain path to success.

Hope you have a great rest of the school year.
Dave Wick
MASS President

 Get involved with your 2023 Legislature!! 

by Dr. Rob Watson, SAM Executive Director

One month down in the legislative session and only three to go! I have had several questions from members about how to get involved in the legislative process. I thought it may be beneficial to provide everyone with a few tips and links that may help you engage with your legislators during this session. 

Below are some frequent questions that I receive:

As a public employee, how do I engage in opposition or support of legislation?

  • You have likely heard that there are some prohibitions when it comes to political engagement by public employees: Montana public employees and officers may not use public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds to solicit support for or opposition to any political committee, the nomination or election of any person to public office, or the passage of a ballot issue. Section 2-2-121(3), MCA. This is why we encourage you to use non-work time and private email when sending messages to your legislators.

  • But you should also know that there is an exemption when you engage as a member of a professional organization (SAM): Section 2-2-121(6), MCA states that “a public employee may not engage in any activity, including lobbying, as defined in 5-7-102, on behalf of an organization.” However, the statute provides an exemption to this prohibition when the lobbying activity is on behalf of “an organization or association of local government officials, of which the public officer or public employee is a member while performing the public officer's or public employee's job duties.” This exemption permits school employees to lobby as part of their professional organization.

What is the best way to contact legislators during the session?

  • You can always email any legislator (or an entire committee) using the system located on the legislative website. Link: https://leg.mt.gov/session/have-your-say/  

  • A couple of tips when sending your thoughts over email: 

    • Be sure to identify yourself and your position in your district and be clear about your stance: either opponent or proponent of the bill.

    • If possible, always try to send your email at least 24 hours before any potential hearing or action on a bill. 

    • What if I missed the hearing? Remember that committees typically don’t take action on any bill until several days or weeks after the hearing, so you can still send your message after the bill hearing.

What if I want to testify, either in person or over zoom?

  • When a bill is heard in committee - those meetings are always open to the public and you can show up in person to testify.

  • A couple of tips when testifying in person

    • Be sure to direct your comments through the chair, and start your testimony with “Mr./Madam Chair and members of the committee.” 

    • Identify yourself and your position before you start your testimony.

    • Clearly spell your name, even if you think it is not necessary.

    • Clearly state your position at the start of your testimony, “I support or I oppose this bill.”

    • Stick around the committee hearing. After all testimony is completed you may be called to answer a question from any member of the committee. If that happens, direct your comments through the chair. This prevents back and forth between witnesses and committee members.

    • BE SURE to check on the bill status before leaving for Helena. Many bills get scheduled and then dropped or rescheduled. Use the “look up bills” at the bottom of the legislative website: https://leg.mt.gov/

  • Testifying over zoom?

    • You need to sign up by 5pm, the day before the hearing. Doing so will mean they will send you a zoom link and your name will be added to the list of proponents or opponents. Even if you have the zoom link, they may not let you testify if you don’t sign up the day before.

    • Use the legislative website to sign up to testify over zoom. Link: https://leg.mt.gov/session/have-your-say/

    • Follow the same guidelines listed above for testifying over zoom.

How do I find a list of upcoming hearings and bills that will be heard?

  • You can always follow a bill's status using the “look up bills” tab on the legislative website: https://leg.mt.gov/

  • Unfortunately, the hearing schedule changes frequently. If you are using a SAM report to track upcoming hearings, make sure you are using the latest report. We update our report twice per week.

  • We at SAM will do our best to keep you updated about upcoming hearings, but there may be bills that are important to you and your district that SAM is not tracking.

  • For those members who are part of the SAM Legislative Network (SAMLN23) the legislative update email goes out twice each week, Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon. We attach a 10-day hearing schedule to these emails. A sample of the latest 10-day hearing schedule looks like THIS.

How do I get involved in the SAM Legislative Network (SAMLN23)?

  • It is not too late to get involved in our SAMLN23. Use this link to find the registration page for the network: https://saom.memberclicks.net/2023-legislative-session

  • What will I get if I am involved in SAMLN23?

    • We will send you updates two times each week with bills we are tracking, position statements, and upcoming hearings.

    • You can participate in our noon Monday zoom meetings where we will cuss and discuss the latest info we have about the legislature.

    • You will be placed on our text message list for when we have a call to action.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about getting involved in this legislative session. Also, if you find yourself in Helena to testify, please let us know so we can provide any assistance if needed.


Registration is Open for Upcoming Events!

  • METAtechED Spring Conference:  
    March 13 (7:00 AM) to March 14 (12:30 PM), Delta Colonial, Helena

    The METAtechED Conference will include 2 days of outstanding information, professional learning and an opportunity to network and connect with colleagues. We encourage all district staff interested in the future of EdTech to attend this conference.  There will be information about cyber security, Montana Pupil Online Personal Information Protection Act, Esports, EdTech Roundtable discussion, breakout sessions featuring our Platinum Sponsors and a social/awards reception with a live interactive demonstration from T.E.S.T Inc. OPI renewal credits will be available during the conference.  This is a great learning opportunity for staff involved in school technology. 

    Follow this link to register: 
    METAtechED Conference Registration

  • Public Education Day and MASS Spring Conference:  March 13 -  14, Helena

    Registration is open for the 2023 Public Education Day (March 13th) and MASS Spring Conference (March 14th).  Watch for agendas coming soon. 

    Follow the links to register for the events (You must register for each event separately):

Contact the hotel directly at 406-443-2100 to receive a room under the 2023 META/MASS room block or click HERE.   Additional rooms are available at the Helena Downtown DoubleTree by calling 406-443-2200 or click HERE. The room block name is MASS/META Conference 

Congratulations, MAEMSP and MASSP Award Winners

MAEMSP and MASSP Awards were presented on Monday, January 23 during the Montana Principals Conference.  Congratulations to all award winners.  

  • MASSP Awards
    • MASSP/NASSP  National Principal of the Year:  Cammie Knapp,
      Corvallis High School
    • MASSP/NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year:  Tami Faulkner,
      Great Falls High School
    • MASSP Future Administrator Scholarship:  Matt Cornelius,
      Choteau High School
    • MASSP Community Partner in Education:  Steve Ford,
      Pepsi of Great Falls
  • MAEMSP Awards
    • MAEMSP/NAESP National Distinguished PrincipalKim Marzolf, Morningside Elementary, Great Falls Public Schools
    • NAESP Conference Incentive Award:  Heather Dunn, Principal,
      Eureka Elementary
    • MAEMSP Aspiring Principal Scholarship Award:  Teresa Weems,
      Lolo School District

Members were also recognized for the MAEMSP and MASSP Years of Membership and well as for SAM Years of Service.  Congratulations to all!

SAM Youth Endowment Nomination Deadline
March 3

Nominations are open until March 3 for the 2022-23
SAM Youth Endowment. The purpose of the School Administrators of Montana Youth Endowment is to make a positive impact on the youth of Montana by providing financial assistance to benefit children’s health, welfare, and/or education.

Awards to nominated recipients are given in April of each year and announced in the May SAM Bulletin. Emergency requests will be accepted and presented to the board on an as requested basis made throughout the year. 

Additional information, nomination guidelines, and access to the 2022-23 SAM Youth Endowment Nomination Form can be found HERE.
Please note: submissions must be made by a current SAM member. 


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The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its Montana state affiliate chapter, Montana Educational Technologists Association (META) are pleased to continue to support the work of current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams in leading all aspects of digital learning transformations.

EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel Broadcast Series

The EmpowerED Superintendents edLeader Panel broadcast series – sponsored by ClassLink -–  is now in its fifth season. Each monthly broadcast is co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net. Participants can earn continuing education (CE) credits after viewing the live or recorded broadcasts. To learn more about CE credits please visit this webpage.

Upcoming February edLeader Panel Broadcast:
The next installment of the EmpowerED Superintendents edLeader Panel Broadcast airs on Monday, February 13, 2023, at 3:00 pm Mountain Time. The focus in February is on Addressing Technology’s Diversity and Equity Through District Policies, Practices, and Personnel. In this edLeader Panel broadcast, Dr. Nick Polyak, Superintendent, Leyden High School District 212 (IL); Dr. Avis Williams, Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools (LA); Dr. Kristi Wilson, Superintendent, Buckeye Elementary School District (AZ); and Diane W. Doersch, Senior Director of Information Technology at Digital Promise and incoming chair of the CoSN Board, engage in a discussion around how best to not only ensure equitable access and effective uses of technology for all the students and families in their school districts but also how to promote diversity within district technology teams to better represent all the communities they serve. Free registration for the February 13, 2023, edLeader Panel Broadcast is available HERE.

January 9, 2023 edLeader Panel Broadcast Recording:
The most recent broadcast of the CoSN / AASA EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel Series, Leveraging Technology Tools to Provide Equitable Learning Opportunities for ALL Students, aired on Monday, January 9, 2023, at 3:00 pm Mountain Time. In this edLeader Panel broadcast, two leading-edge superintendents, Dr. Baron R. Davis, Superintendent of Richland School District Two in Columbia, South Carolina and Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent for the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada joined in an interactive discussion with Cynthia Curry, CAST Director of Technical Assistance. Together they shared the strategies they use to successfully lead accessibility for ALL within a school district. Multiple resources were provided for the participants to access and leverage within their own school settings. You are welcome to access the free January 9, 2023 EmpowerED Superintendents edLeader Panel Recording or Podcast version HERE.

Upcoming National Conferences:
AASA NCE 2023 Conference
CoSN is looking forward to participating in the AASA NCE 2023 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, February 16-18, 2023 (https://nce.aasa.org/). Members of the CoSN team and Superintendents who serve on the CoSN/AASA EmpowerED Superintendents Advisory Panel will be presenting workshops and panel presentations throughout AASA NCE 2023. We look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio.

CoSN 2023 Conference
CoSN’s 2023 Annual Conference is taking place in Austin, Texas on March 20-23, 2023 (https://www.cosn.org/cosn2023/).
The theme of this year’s CoSN Conference is “Reimagine. Redesign. Renew.” Multiple sessions for school leaders are included in the program, including panel presentation sessions by members of the CoSN/AASA EmpowerED Superintendents Advisory Panel. Hope to see you in Austin in March.

CoSN Membership:
If you, your school or district would like more information about joining CoSN, please contact [email protected].


Tech Corner -
Paycheck Scam Alert


This year, we will periodically include this new Tech Corner feature in the newsletter.


Jeff Patterson and his team at K12 Montana
(k12mt.com) want to get a word of warning out: Montana clerks are being targeted by a very sophisticated attack that steals employees' paychecks! Through electronic communications and social engineering, attackers have been successfully tricking clerks across the state and stealing employees' paychecks


Please read this short article to make sure your district isn't the next victim of this crime.


Thank you to SAM's Business Partners!  

Please take time to visit their websites.

Montana Big Sky Sponsors

Health Insurance
PO Box 4579
Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]

Total Education Solutions in Technology (T.E.S.T)  
PO Box 2900
Missoula, MT 59805
[email protected]

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Empowering Teachers To
Drive Their Own Professional Learning
84 Sherman Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
 [email protected]

Montana Glacier Sponsors

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Infinite Campus is the largest American-owned student information system  
[email protected]  
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Annuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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EdPower - formerly Silverback Learning Solutions
408 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Ste.300
Boise, ID 83706
 [email protected]  
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School property & liability insurance      
1200 North Montana Ave.
Helena. MT. 59601
[email protected]  
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K–12 online curriculum and blended learning solutions
Chet Riddle
[email protected]
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A leading provider of cloud-based education products
45 E Madison Ave, Ste 7 
Clifton, NJ 07011
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Helping Families and Schools Create Two- and Four-Year College Graduates With Minimal Debt 
211 N. 14th Street, Suite 315 
Lincoln, NE 68508


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4500 N. Lewis Dr.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
[email protected]


Montana Mountain Sponsors

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solutions
34 West 6th Avenue, Suite 2B
Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]

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Partners in Clean, Safe & Healthy Buildings
2525 Overland Avenue
Billings, MT 59102 
[email protected]
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Targeted Professional Development
Daniel Sybrant
557 Cow Creek Lane
Corvallis, MT 
[email protected] 
888-413-3669, ext. 5776
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Next generation education ecosystem
38 Grenville Street, Suite 4403
Toronto, ON M4Y1A5
[email protected]
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The Great Conversation Series
Jamie Vollmer
[email protected]

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Reach Higher Montana
Jason Butcher
Outreach Director
406-422-1275 Ext. 801
[email protected]
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Standards-based digital curriculum resources for
K–12 classrooms 
Emily Keith
[email protected]      
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 Professional Learning Organization 
1031 N. Academic Way, Ste. 242 
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
[email protected]                     

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Auto, homeowners, life insurance and financial services
617 W Stolley Park Road
Grand Island, NE 68801
[email protected] 
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School Workers’ Compensation & Liability
PO Box 7029 - Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]
Phone: 406-457-4418

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Provides Orton-Gillingham Sonday System Programs and Training
Amanda Burnette                                
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 480
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[email protected]

School portraits, yearbooks & sports portraits
2110 Overland Ave., #115A 
Billings, MT 59102 

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C&C School Accounting
Software For Schools In Montana Since 1980
[email protected]

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Safe, Easily Managed School
106 East Sixth Street, Suite 500
Austin TX 48701
[email protected]  

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Protecting every child's digital journey 
11545 W. Bernardo Court Suite 204 
San Diego, CA 92127
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National provider of scalable, fiber technology solutions 
Spectrum Enterprises Local Contacts

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Powering Your School’s Identity

2201 Brookwood Dr. Suite 115
Little Rock, AR 72202
[email protected]


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Online Learning for students grades 6-12
One East Broward Blvd. Suite 1599

Ft. Lauderdale FL 33301

[email protected]


Montana Meadow Sponsors

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Substitute Staffing Service
Maya Burnaugh
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[email protected]
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School Accounting Software
145 Southlake Crest, Suite 1
Polson, MT. 59860
[email protected]  

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Technology planning, project  &
solution  services
2135 Charlotte Street
Bozeman MT 59718
[email protected]  
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K12 Montana, Inc.
Creator of K12 Panel -
IT work for you!
Jeff Patterson
[email protected]
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Systems and applications to reduce
the financial burden of federal student loans
[email protected]rces.com

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A turn-key library of interactive lessons that enrich K-12 instruction
[email protected]
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Therapy Your Way
811 E. Washington Ave,
Suite 500
Madison, WI 53703
[email protected]
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Managed IT Services, Advanced Cybersecurity Services, Product Procurement
500 N Higgins Ave #201
Missoula, MT 59802
[email protected] 
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Collaborating with you to innovate
1627 W. Main Street Suite #325
Bozeman, MT 59715
[email protected]   

2022-23 SAM Bulletins