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.

2019 G.V. Erickson Award Recipient
The 2019 G.V. Erickson Award was given to Dr. Darlene Schottle,
Chairperson of the MT Board of Public Education and Former Superintendent of Kalispell Schools

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The School Administrators of Montana (SAM) is proud to announce the 2019 G.V. Erickson Award recipient, Dr. Darlene Schottle, Chairperson of the Montana Board of Public Education and retired Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools.  Dr. Schottle was awarded this distinguished honor at the annual Montana Conference of Education Leadership (MCEL) held in Billings on October 16-18, 2019.  The G.V. Erickson Award is given to a member of SAM who has made the greatest contribution to the betterment of education in Montana.  This is the most prestigious award a school administrator of Montana can receive.  The award is named after Mr. G.V. Erickson, a school administrator who dedicated his career and life to education and the children of Montana.  The G. V. Erickson award recipients have been honored for over 30 years.

Dr. Darlene Schottle has been an educator for nearly forty years.  Her undergraduate degree was completed at the University of British Columbia and both her Masters and Doctorate programs were from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Dr. Schottle has served as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator in various positions, including eleven years as the Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools. Under her supervision, the Kalispell school district built the first new Class AA high school in Montana in 25 years by securing a $53 million bond.  The district also built a new middle school and remodeled the old high school during Dr. Schottle’s superintendency. 

Dr. Schottle’s contributions to public education have been extensive and far-reaching. She has served in support of Montana public education in many capacities, such as the President of the Northwest Montana Association of School Superintendents (MASS).  Dr. Schottle continues to serve as a coach/mentor for the SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program, a position that has provided the opportunity for numerous new and experienced administrators throughout the state to learn from Dr. Schottle’s experience and expertise.  She also provides educational support in varying roles to Flathead Valley Community Colleg. 

“Dr. Darlene Schottle is a shining example of a Montana education leader,” stated Kirk Miller, Executive Director of SAM.  “Her personal and professional commitment to education excellence in Montana’s public schools is exemplary. Her countless hours of dedication to the entire state’s educational community through her service represents much of what is right with education in our Montana communities!  We are proud of Darlene and thank her for her continued commitment to the education of Montana’s children!”

The G. V. Erickson Award was presented by Mr. Peter Hamilton, Principal of Polson High School and President of SAM.  The entire SAM membership congratulates Dr. Darlene Schottle on being honored with this prestigious award.   

About Mr. Erickson 
Mr. G. V. Erickson was born in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1911 where he attended elementary, high school and college.  G. V. graduated from Concordia College in 1934 with a major in biology and a double minor in German and physical education.  Mr. Erickson completed graduated work at the University of Montana, Montana State University, and Carroll College prior to receiving a Masters Degree in School Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1945.  At his first teaching position G. V. was a principal, coach, and a math and science instructor in New Leipzig, North Dakota for three years.  G. V. then went to Brockton as a science and math instructor and coach in 1937.  After two years he became superintendent and held that position for three years.  He then moved to Glasgow where he was a principal of the junior/senior high school.  G. V. then moved to Havre for three years as high school principal.  In 1948 G. V. moved to Helena as elementary principal of the Bryant, Lincoln, Hawthorn, and Broadwater schools. In 1955 he set up the first Helena Junior High School and was principal there through 1959.  In 1959 he moved to Montana State University in Bozeman as the Director of Student Teaching.  G. V. held this position for 10 years, and when the Department of Education became the College of Education in 1967, he became the Head of the Department of Secondary Education and Foundations.  He held this position until he retired in 1973.
Along with his regular position at MSU, G. V. was offered an additional challenge in education.  At the first meeting of the joint organization of MASA-MAESP-MASSP held in Billings in 1971, he was asked b the newly formed Executive Board to become the organization’s first executive secretary.  G. V. held this part-time position in addition to his work at Montana State University.  He was SAM’s Executive Secretary for the first six years of his existence.
Also G. V. became a life member of MEA in 1937, the NEA in 1940, the NAESP in 1953, and was also a life member of the MASSP.
The term “nice guy” was created for G. V. Erickson.  He had a great compassion for educators and students.  G. V.’s motivational speeches, which accompanied his annual report to administrators, will never be forgotten.
Mr. G. V. Erickson passed away a few short days before the annual G. V. Erickson Award was presented at the Fall Conference in 1996.