Volume XLIII                            July/August 2021

No. 309

In This Issue...

  1. MASS President Message 
  2. SAM AI 2021 July 26-27
  3. SAM LPLP 2021-22
  4. SAM Executive Director Message
  5. Welcome SAM's New Director of Operations
  6. SAM's New Business Partners
  7. CoSN - Innovative Technology Solutions

Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

July 26-27 2021:  SAM Administrators Institute



** View the full SAM Calendar**   

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners! 

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SAM Leadership

Cal Ketchum
Shelley Andres
President Elect
Dale Olinger
Past President
Shawn Hendrickson
KJ Poepping
President Elect
Sheri Heavrin
Vice President
Justin Helvik
Past President
Nicole Trahan
Ted Miller
President Elect
Julie Hornby
Vice President
Shelley Andres
Past President
Marlin Lewis
Barb Droessler
SAM Representatives
Dr. Greg Dern
Dave Wick
President Elect
Casey Klasna
Past President
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Sara Novak
Erin Lipkind
Everett Holm
SAM Office
Kirk Miller
Executive Director
Marcus Meyer
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances
Kim Scofield
Director of Member Services & Professional Learning




What's Your Leadership Theme for the New School Year?

  by Dr. Greg Dern, MASS President 

Today opens our new school year. Ahead of us are the hopes of success for everyone who we serve, and the challenge of meeting needs in ways that fulfill our vision for education. All of us are committed to the complexities involved in leading schools, and it can be said of school leadership that leadership in K-12 education focuses on transforming organizations to achieve optimal success and advancement, and it focuses on creating and sustaining powerful learning communities. Taken separately, each application of leadership in K-12 education is premised on distinct outcomes.

On the one hand, transforming an organization requires skills to integrate and synthesize personal-, organizational-, and societal-level values to enhance the organization's economic value, create efficiencies, and align services with needs. Leaders of K-12 education organizations know these issues well when developing budgets, examining enrollment trends, and creating equity in curriculum development. On the other hand, creating and sustaining powerful learning communities supports and promotes individual and team capabilities to adaptively engage in change initiative processes. School leaders accomplish this by intentionally connecting the strategy of an organization with the professional identities and the personal development of the members of the organization. 

Making headway on these two fronts of leadership may require us to develop a theme introduced at the beginning of each year and woven into the fabric of our vision for education that is carried out across the school year in what we do and speak. Since we are in the business of knowledge, themes about the value of knowledge are reasonable places to begin.

Knowledge and reason are closely tied together – specifically by truth, openness, and toleration – and the relationship between the two locates for us the sovereignty of reason. In other words, reason is not the conclusion of a particular argument, rather is a process through which knowledge is closely examined and knowledge in its many forms (e. g., instrumental, sound-knowledge) remains for us an epistemic pursuit unique to the work we do as school leaders. So, what is your theme for the school year? What will drive the way you value knowledge and the processes of reason-making in your organizations this year? As for me, I have chosen the word value as my theme for the year – it’s both a noun and a verb – because our value in valuing everyone is what raises us to the next level in our work.

I wish you a happy and successful year!

Dr. Greg Dern
MASS President

 SAM Professional Learning Opportunities

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Be sure to join your colleagues at the SAM Administrators Institute 2021 (SAMAI 21)!  Keynote presenters, Will Richardson and John Perricone are sure to provide engaging messages and check out the schedule for professional learning focused around Social Emotional & Mental Health, Accelerating Learning, and Infrastructure Needs:  SAM AI 2021 - Schedule of Clinic Sessions This year's event will be held at the Delta Colonial by Marriott in Helena or virtually.  Consider registering you and your team to attend.  It is a great opportunity for your team to connect and set aside time to begin to plan for fall.   You are also invited to celebrate SAM's 50th Anniversary that will launch during SAM AI 21!  Come celebrate the great accomplishments of 50 years of SAM! 

Click HERE for more information!  Register HERE!

SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program 2021-22

Now is the time to consider how you might set yourself up to have the very best school year ever!  New and experienced administrators have begun registering for the 2021-22 SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program!  The official launch of SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program (LPLP) 2021-22 will take place at the SAM LPLP Summit on July 27th from noon - 3:00.  The Summit is intended for members already registered to participate in the program and also for those wanting more information.  Tailored to meet the needs of new, experienced, and aspiring administrators, SAM LPLP may be the just-in-time professional learning that will meet the needs of you and your administrative team.  

Click HERE for more information or HERE to Register!  


SAM Connecting Resources During Changing Times!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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The beginning of the 2021-22 school year begins today with optimism and hope for creating a learning environment in each of our schools that will assist each child to develop their full potential!  2020-21 has been an outstanding year for your professional association, SAM, with great contributions from over 1100 members insuring progress on our strategic plan and excellent educational opportunities for our Montana children!  The COVID pandemic has impacted all lives and has driven the national and state dialogue now and into the future.  Our nation and world are changing, and your SAM organization is creating an atmosphere for these changes to be implemented with the fidelity required and expected for our children.  Attending hundreds of virtual meetings and a couple in-person the past 9 months, we are listening to the needs of our members.  Our story of progress is easy to share resulting from the collective energy and effort of administrators all across our state.  I share with you the most recent SAM Update that encapsulates the progress of this year while also points to a very robust agenda for 2021-22, with our administrators and SAM leading the way on numerous efforts to positively impact the education of our Montana students …

SAM was organized as an association for administrators in 1971. It rep­resents the interests, aspirations, and professional leadership of Montana administrators.  Over 1100 members network under six affiliate associations (MASS, MAEMSP, MASSP, MCASE, MACSS, META) to promote GREAT Montana Schools, supporting leader’s passion for providing an outstanding education to Montana's children!

The SAM Strategic Plan 2018-22outlines the benefits being a SAM member affords each education leader through their contributions to the greater good of the education community to inspire our students…

SAM Executive Director’s Strategic Plan Report for 4th Quarter 2020-21

Leadership Involved in Decisions that Impact Education


Professional Learning and Services

Make sure to follow SAM on Twitter @MTEDLeadership & on Facebook at Sam Montana

Thank you SAM members for your excellent work in 2020-21.  SAM is ready to continue our collective effort for the greater good of the education community to inspire our students in 2021-22!

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Please join us in welcoming SAM's new Director of Operations - Finance, Membership, Conferences - Marcus Meyer who officially joined the SAM team today!  Marcus has been working as an Investigator/Compliance Specialist for the Montana Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection for the past nine years.  A graduate of Carroll College, he has also worked for the Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program and as a Middle School Lead Coordinator/Supervisor for the Helena Public Schools PEAK Enrichment Program.  As the son of a retired school administrator and teacher, Marcus understands and appreciates the importance of providing excellence in education to our Montana students.  We are excited by his professionalism and manner, as well as his experiences, and believe he is a good match for joining the SAM team!  Welcome, Marcus!!

Our previous SAM Director of Operations, Gary Wagner, accepted a new position in the banking industry.  We are sad to see him go but congratulate him and offer our thanks for his six years of stellar service to SAM.  On behalf of our SAM team and all of our members, we thank Gary for all he has done for our association and the administrators his work has enhanced all across the state!

Now Accepting Nominations for SAM Awards!

  • G.V. Erickson Award - Nominations are open until October 1, 2021: The G.V. Erickson Award is given to a member of the School Administrators of Montana who has made the greatest contribution to the betterment of education in Montana; something that G.V. did throughout his career. This is the most honored award a school administrator of Montana can receive.
  • Erdie Memorial Scholarship - Applications close October 1, 2021: A Dr. Jay Erdie Memorial Mentor Scholarship in the amount of $1000 will be awarded annually to a deserving educator. The purpose of the scholarship is to “train and mentor” new Montana school administrators. The scholarship will be awarded to a school administration candidate who plans to begin and/or complete his/her administrative credentials and intends to work in a Montana school district. Once the candidate has secured a position and notified the SAM office, a trained mentor will be provided through SAM’s Mentor Program to assist during his/her first year on the job.

Welcome to Our New SAM Business Partners 

  • K12 Montana, Inc

k12 montana logo.png - 26.83 Kb  K12 Montana, Inc is a Great Falls based innovation company specifically focused on K12 education.  They offer a wide range of technology projects and can support your district technology team or provide complete managed services. K12 MT created K12 Panel, the first of its kind K12 focused computer management system that simplifies inventory-management and technical functions, including tracking and mapping PCs and Chromebooks, remotely installing software and managing PCs, easily reimaging PCs, detailed reporting, and more! 

For a full description of the K12 business model and partnership opportunities, click HERE.

  • Nexxus Portal

Nexxus_Portal_Logo.png - 33.02 KbNexxus Portal is a next generation community engagement platform. It brings common day-to-day tasks onto a seamless, digital platform. Each module of the Nexxus Portal is purposefully built and “goes the extra mile”.  It provides a powerful platform that’s geared towards community building and not restricted to the classroom, convenient and useful features across mobile and web interfaces, a modern user interface and user experience and is designed to evolve.  Visit Nexxus Portal for more information.  
  • D.A. Davidson

D.A. Davidson FICM Logo - JPEG.jpg - 154.96 KbFounded in Montana in 1935, D.A. Davidson & Co. is the largest full-service investment firm located in the Northwest. D.A. Davidson is proud to assist in the process of making our schools as safe and effective as possible by issuing bonds to finance school improvement projects as large as a new school to as small as a new roof. They understand first-hand the vital importance of continued investments in our school facilities for the long-term success of our Montana communities. The D. A. Davidson team works closely with schools across Montana to help Superintendents and other officials successfully navigate the bond issue process. They offer tailored financing solutions designed specifically for each individual school that also capitalizes on the past experience of other schools.  Visit the website for more information 

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 Innovative Technology Solutions to Address Digital Equity

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.  

The Empowered Superintendent edWebinar Series – Monday, July 12, 2021, 3:00 pm MT

Innovative Technology Solutions to Address Digital Equity: Award-Winning Collaborative Leadership Strategies 
The next episode of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, airs on Monday, July 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm Mountain Time. The July webinar is titled “Innovative Technology Solutions to Address Digital Equity: Award-Winning Collaborative Leadership Strategies”

Student access to robust digital tools is key to their success as 21st-century citizens. Yet many students have limited access to these tools both at school and at home. Closing this gap entails a broad approach which requires that schools and communities work together. CoSN created the Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity to encourage and recognize those districts that are working to eliminate inequities and narrow the access gap. The winning district team is  selected based on its efforts to build community awareness and actions taken to narrow the Homework Gap and other issues related to Digital Equity.

The Superintendents and District Technology Leaders from each of the school districts that were awarded CoSN’s Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity in 2021 (Desert Sands USD, CA) and in 2020 (Santa Fe Public Schools, NM) are the featured guests in the July 12 edWebinar broadcast. Join the conversation with Superintendent Scott Bailey and Dr. Kelly May-Volmer, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services, from Desert Sands USD, CA along with Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, Superintendent, and Dr. Tom Ryan, Former Chief Information and Strategy Officer from Santa Fe Public Schools, NM as they share the strategies they use to build community awareness and the actions they have taken to address a wide variety of issues related to digital equity. Tools and resources from CoSN’s Digital Equity Initiative will be presented. Additionally, the latest information from CoSN’s Student Home Internet Connectivity Study will be reviewed. 

Free registration for the July 12, 2021 webinar is now available HERE. Webinars in this series are also freely available as recordings HERE and via podcast HERE a day or two after the initial live broadcast. 

CoSN Resources:  

1) CoSN Digital Equity Toolkit
CoSN’s Digital Equity Toolkit spotlights ways in which schools and districts have successfully addressed digital equity challenges and identifies community engagement opportunities around digital access and inclusion. The toolkit discusses five strategies schools and districts can implement to address the “Homework Gap” and four steps school leaders can take to collaborate with local governments and other community leaders. You can read the executive summary and access the link to download the complete Digital Equity Toolkit at


2) CoSN Student Home Internet Connectivity Study
CoSN recently released the preliminary findings of a breakthrough study on students’ at-home internet connectivity which provides guidelines on bandwidth, devices, and other remote learning needs based on the data. The study was supported by a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). The findings serve as a guide for school district leaders who are working to improve online learning equity. Key findings from the Student Home Connectivity Study as well as a link to access the full report are available at https://cosn.org/digitalequity

CoSN Membership

If your school or district would like more information about joining CoSN or getting more involved with CoSN, please contact Brian Calvary, CAE, CoSN Director of Membership and Chapters, at [email protected]



Thank you to SAM's Business Partners!  

Please take time to visit their websites.

Montana Big Sky Sponsors

Health Insurance
P O Box 4579 - Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]

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Technology Innovation
1309 NW Bypass - Great Falls, MT 59404  
[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

infinite_campus.jpg - 7.35 KbInfinite Campus is the largest  American-owned student information system  
4321 109th Avenue NE
Blaine, MN 55449 stephanie.sondrol@infinite  campus.com     
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Annuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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Mileposts™ cloud-based
achievement & data management
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]





Montana Mountain Sponsors

Gabbart_Communications.png - 7.60 KbConnecting Schools, Parents, and Communities through   Cloud-Based   Communication Tools           
218 N. 3rd Ave 
Durant, OK 74701
[email protected]
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Professional Learning Organization 
1031 N. Academic Way, Ste. 242 
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
[email protected]                        208-292-2529  
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Provides Orton-Gillingham Sonday System Programs and Training
Amanda Burnette                                         
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 480
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[email protected].com
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Building Management and System Integration
Rick Ruiz, Business Development
800 7th Ave. North
Great Falls, MT. 59911
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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
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Standards-based digital curriculum resources for
K–12 classrooms 
Emily Keith
[email protected]      

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K–12 online curriculum and blended learning solutions
Chet Riddle
[email protected]
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Targeted Professional Development
Daniel Sybrant
557 Cow Creek Lane
Corvallis, MT 
[email protected] 
888-413-3669, ext. 5776
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solutions
34 West 6th Avenue, Suite 2B
Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]

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Partners is Clean, Safe & Healthy Buildings
2525 Overland Avenue
Billings, MT 59102 
[email protected]

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

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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 Networks
106 East Sixth Street, Suite 500
Austin TX 48701
[email protected]  512-904-0544   

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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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College Assistance, Job Skill Training   
1956 MT Majo Street  
Fort Harrison, MT 59636
[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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Network and Communications Solutions 
904 C Avenue
Circle, MT 59215
[email protected]  

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Systems and applications to reduce the financial burden of federal student loans
[email protected]


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A turn-key library of interactive lessons that enrich K-12 instruction

[email protected]



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Collaborating with you to innovate

1627 W. Main Street Suite #325
Bozeman, MT 59715
[email protected]   

900 N. Montana Ave. Suite A-4| Helena, MT. 59601| Phone (406)442-2510 | Fax (406)442-2518 


2020-21 SAM Bulletins

June 2021 Bulletin
May 2021 Bulletin
April 2021 Bulletin
March 2021 Bulletin
February 2021 Bulletin
January 2021 Bulletin
December 2020 Bulletin
November 2020 Bulletin
October 2020 Bulletin
September 2020 Bulletin
July-August 2020 Bulletin