Volume XLII                          September 2019

No. 288

In This Issue...

  1. SAM President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. Award Opportunities
  4. MASS/MCASE Conference
  5. MCEL 2019
  6. SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program 2019-20
  7. CoSN Empowered Superintendent Initiative & Driving K-12 Innovation Report 
  8. SAM Welcomes New Business Partners
  9. 2019-20 SAM and Affiliate Conferences and Events


Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

September 22: AASA/SAM Aspiring Superintendent Collegial Learning Network Meeting - Bozeman

September 23-24: MASS/MCASE Fall Conference - Bozeman

September 25-26: MACSS Fall Conference - Lewistown

October 16-18:  MCEL - Billings

January 26-28: Montana Principals Conference - Fairmont

March 23-24: MASS/METAtechEd Conference - Helena

June 11-12: SAM Board Meeting and Delegate Assembly (Note date change) - Helena

July 27-29, 2020:  SAM Administrators Institute 2020 - Helena

** View the full SAM Calendar**  


Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners!

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SAM Leadership
Peter Hamilton
Dale Olinger
President Elect
Laurie Barron
Past President
Jake Haynes
Justin Helvik
President Elect
Shawn Hendrickson
Vice President
Peter Hamilton
Past President
Craig Crawford
Shelley Andres
President Elect
Nicole Trahan
Vice President
Pam Meier
Past President
Marlin Lewis
Barb Droessler
SAM Representatives
Mike Perry
Casey Klasna
President Elect
Cal Ketchum
Past President
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Michelle Halberg
Cathy Maloney
Brian Norwood
SAM Office
Kirk Miller
Executive Director
Gary Wagner
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances
Kim Scofield
Director of Member Services & Professional Learning




Self-Reflection with a Kick!  

by Peter Hamilton, SAM President

I wanted to write you an article to bring value to someone somewhere in their role as an administrator and I thought what better topic than self-reflection. Sometimes self-reflection is the hardest pill to swallow in life and in administration! I start out by expressing my gratitude and feeling humbled and honored to serve as the 2019-20 School Administrators of Montana President.  Currently, I hold the position of Principal at Polson High School located on the beautiful shores of Flathead Lake. Starting my 17th year in education, I have never been more excited for a school year than the upcoming one and I wanted to give a brief summary on self-reflection and the power it has on my preparation for the school year.

At the end of every year as a leader, I started my own tradition to learn and grow. I ask my staff three questions before they check out for the end of another school year. My goal is to listen and give them the opportunity to talk as I take notes and practice building my skills as a great listener. When the teacher finishes a question, I move on to the next question. There are moments of awkward silence during the meeting. I try not to talk, I shake my head and just listen which is sometimes the most difficult part. Our brains tend to want to make a response instead of listening. We immediately jump to thoughts of problem solving or wanting to reassure the person and holding those thoughts in without blurting them out is sometimes hard! I do my best to sit quietly.

The reflection for myself and the perception given from my staff gives me a lot to think about. The real work begins after all staff members have had time to answer the questions and I sit back and think about what I can work on over the summer to become a better leader for our school. 

The three questions I ask are as follows: What was one thing you are most proud of this year? What is one thing you did not like this year? What is one constructive piece of feedback that could help me become a better leader?

Asking staff to help me with their answers, looking for feedback and finding out the perceptions of the staff can impact a school when you truly take time to listen. After processing the information, I then move to researching books to help grow my mindset and bring awareness to issues I can control in myself and my position as a leader. I can only control me. I start the year off after using the feedback from those questions.

This summer my feedback from staff lead me to read a few books to sprout some ideas and give some direction for where to go next in my leadership journey.

The first book was The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. The book was a great read on how to get everyone on your team rowing in the same direction. The story is about Kathrine who takes over a company which is surviving but not thriving and in turn, builds a team with a foundation built on trust, commitment, accountably, and results. The book is a must read for any school administrator. 

Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker is a great read for Principals new to the position or new to a school wanting to do everything possible to make people feel important and valued. A principal wears a multitude of hats and has a stressful position. Every year there are more expectations and demands placed on schools with limited budgets and federal mandates not making anything easier. Mr. Whitaker’s concept of shifting the workload to a shared responsibility and not taking on more responsibilities (monkeys) which could be handled by someone else.  The book also talks about leaders not shifting their own responsibilities on their hardest workers as well. The concepts in the book are easy to understand and I still face the challenge as a new administrator in a new building to implement change and growth by using these concepts. 

One of the most important things a school leader can do is self-reflect every year to understand what is important and to focus on what can be done differently.  Reflection leads to many positive outcomes and has helped me become a better leader each year.

I look forward to working with all of you this year and if I can help anyone please let me know.

[email protected] @Phamilton34

Yours in Education,
 Peter Hamilton
SAM President

Supporting Administrators as You Practice the Greatest Profession!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

kirk-headshot.jpg - 183.43 KbThe 2019-20 school year begins with enthusiasm and energy that our excited students bring with anticipation of growing and learning.  Our quality educators in Montana schools, actively engaging our students during these first couple of days, match that excitement.  This is a whole community event where parents and the greater community have really looked forward to the restart of school and activities and all of those wonderful events that hold the center of attention in Montana communities.  This collective excitement does not happen by chance, and behind every successful effort to create this healthy, wonderful environment for learning is a quality Montana administrator who worked diligently these past couple of months to insure this atmosphere of success!  So, I begin this school year with a thank you to over 1000 Montana school and district administrators who have chosen the greatest profession for the great work you have done to get the 2019-20 school year off to a great start!

Your professional association, SAM, has been paying attention to creating supports for administrators that will help you as the school year gets underway.  That attention is centered around the goals of the SAM Strategic Plan, adopted by the SAM Board of Directors and the living, breathing strategic objectives and actions that make the plan alive and useful.  I hope that this year you will connect with and use the many resources that have been created to assist you in your work. To start this year out, I’m sharing with you the broad concepts and details (as links) for your review…

SAM was organized as an association for administrators in 1971. It rep­resents the interests, aspirations, and professional leadership of Montana administrators.  Over 1050 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 2018-22(adopted by the SAM Board 10/18/18) outlines 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…

Leadership Involved in Decisions that Impact Education


Professional Learning and Services

  • Professional learning opportunities for educational leaders aligned with best practices research and innovative strategies.
  • The SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program (LPLP) 2019-20 is a best practices professional learning delivery system that personalizes learning for Montana administrators. Over 6 years, the LPLP has supported nearly 350 administrators.  See the SAM LPLP 2018-19 Executive Summary.  In 2019-20, over 75 administrators have joined the LPLP, forming ten Collegial Learning Networks with coach/mentors to personalize a professional learning plan enhancing their ability to serve their students, school and community!
  • MT-PEC Collaborative Professional Development Flexibility & Efficiency - Framework
  • SAM Administrators Institute 2019 link has resources shared at the Institute
  • MCEL 2019 (October 16-18, 2019) “Each Child. Every School.” will be in Billings. Schedule at a Glance gives you info on the sessions offered.
  • SAM annually assists in the operation of 11 conferences creating learning opportunities for our members. See the ‘Professional Learning’ ‘Conferences’ tab on the website.
  • In September - MASS/MCASE Fall Conference 2019 and MACSS Fall Conference 2019
  • SAM Membership 2019-20
  • SAM Youth Endowment – help a worthy student/family through the Endowment.
  • SAM and Affiliate Awards
  • SAM developed web-based communication tools for the use of our Members. Click HERE to see the instructions on how to use the E-list tool.  Click DOCUMENT or VIDEO to learn how to use SAM Community Forums.
  • Member benefits:  Affiliate regional meetings, SAM Bulletin and weekly SAM Update, colleague networks, state and federal advocacy networks, legal assistance, professional liability insurance, technology embedded solutions including website, cloud-based solutions, use of social media, E-Lists, digital Community Forums to enhance member communication, many more…

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

As you can see, we are ready for continuing our collective effort for the greater good of the education community to inspire our students in 2019-20!  Wishing you an outstanding school year!

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MASS/MCASE Fall Conference

September 23-24, 2019

Best Western GranTree InnBozeman

Click HERE to Register!

The conference is open to ALL administrators. 

Check out the agenda to see the great professional learning available!

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MCEL 2019 - Registration

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2019-20 SAM and Affiliate Conferences and Events

September 23-24, 2019: MASS/MCASE Fall Conference - Bozeman

September 25-26, 2019: MACSS Fall Conference- Lewistown

October 16-18. 2019: MCEL - Billings 

January 26-28, 2020: Montana Principals Conference - Fairmont

March 23-24, 2020: MASS/METAtechED Conference - Helena

June 11-12, 2020: SAM Board Meeting and Delegate Assembly (Note date change)

Click HERE to view the entire 2019-20 SAM Conference and Board Meeting Schedules

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Award Opportunities - Application/Nomination Deadlines Approaching

The following award nominations/applications are now open.  Please consider nominating someone you would like to recognize for their outstanding service to the education of Montana's children.  

MASS AASA Convention Incentive Award - Nominations close September 11, 2019:  The Montana Association of School Superintendents Incentive Award Program is intended to provide an opportunity for two administrators to attend the AASA National Conference on Education (NCE) in San Diego February 13-15, 2020. Nominees must be members of MASS and AASA and must not have previously attended an AASA NCE.

NASSP Student Leadership Advisory Committee - Open to 10th and 11th-grade students - Nominations close September 16, 2019:  NASSP is excited to welcome nominations for new committee members for the term mid - November 2019 to October 30, 2021.  NASSP is looking for young people who communicate effectively, verbally and in writing; have a strong sense of responsibility and accountability, and have demonstrated a commitment to school and/or community organizations.

G.V. Erickson Award - Nominations close October 1, 2019: 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, 2019:  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.

MASS School Board of the Year - Nominations close October 1, 2019:  The purpose of the award is to recognize and focus attention on the dedicated and ethical service rendered by school boards to the children of Montana.  Nominations for the MASS School Board of the Year may be submitted by any Montana Superintendent of Schools.  A committee reviews the applications and selects up to two (2) Outstanding School Boards in Montana.  The winners are announced at the annual MCEL Conference in October.  

MASSP/NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Award - Nominations/Applications close October 4, 2019:  The National Assistant Principal of the Year program recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students. These assistant principals are acknowledged by their peers for the exemplary contributions they have made to the profession. The program honors high school assistant principals who have demonstrated excellence in the areas addressed by the selection criteria. 

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It isn't too late to join the nearly 80 new and experienced administrators who have registered for SAM LPLP 2019-20!

SAM LPLP’s multi-faceted blended learning approach consists of a rich online resource center, collegial learning networks designed to be dynamic based upon topics of interest as they arise that allow participants to focus on specific areas of interest, and personal learning networks including the option of one-on-one coaching/mentoring with experienced Providers. 

Tailored to meet the needs of new, experienced, and aspiring administrators, learning networks meet both virtually and face-to-face allowing participants to share challenges, successes, and thought leadership with like-minded Montana leaders experiencing similar job roles, situations, and context while bringing professional development to the administrator.

The following Collegial Learning Networks (CLNs) are beginning to set goals for the 2019-20 program year:    Social-Emotional Learning, Transformational Learning, AASA/SAM Aspiring Superintendent, TierII/Tier III Behavior Project, New Leaders, New Superintendents, Special Education Directors, Trusted Learning Environment, ESSA Comprehensive Support.

The goal of the SAM LPLP is to provide intentional, personalized professional learning to Montana educators through research-based strategies resulting in improvements in job satisfaction, administrator longevity, and ultimately to increased student achievement and quality of instruction which will positively impact the education of students across Montana. 

The members of Montana Association of School Superintendents (MASS) believe so strongly in the SAM LPLP that they have agreed to pay the registration fee for all Montana superintendents new to their position.  For more information, contact the SAM office.  

Register for SAM LPLP 2019-20!

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CoSN Empowered Superintendent Initiative & Driving K-12 Innovation Report

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its 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.  

We begin this new school year with a look at the CoSN Empowered Superintendent Initiative and the recently released CoSN Driving K-12 Innovation Report.  The CoSN Empowered Superintendent Initiative was initially created when CoSN and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, joined together to create The Empowered Superintendent Toolkit, available for download at http://www.cosn.org/superintendents. The toolkit provides free high quality resources for superintendents and school leaders to support their work in leading digital transformations.  In July of this year, CoSN and AASA announced a new partnership agreement that will continue the collaboration of these two associations in helping PreK-12 leaders lead and leverage technology tools for learning and school operations. 

CoSN has partnered with edWeb to provide a monthly webinar series on topics essential for leading digital transformations. School superintendents serve as panelists on each webinar and share their stories and expertise. Every webinar is recorded for viewing by those who are not able to join the live broadcast.  Season 2 of the CoSN/edWeb Empowered Superintendent webinar series begins on Monday, September 9 at 4;00 pm CT with a review of the Empowered Superintendent Toolkit and a look at the CoSN Driving K-12 Innovation report.  Devorah Kerr, Superintendent of Brown Deer School District, WI (and current president of AASA) and David Schuler, Superintendent of High School District 214, IL (and chair of the CoSN Superintendent Advisory Panel) join Keith Krueger, CoSN CEO, as webinar guest panelists.  Learn more and register for this free webinar - as well as access the recordings of last season's webinars - at this link:   https://home.edweb.net/supers/.

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] 

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CandCAccountinglogo.gif - 72.73 KbSAM Welcomes New Business Partner:  C & C School Accounting

Software Built for Montana Schools Since 1980!
  • Established in 1980 by Superintendent Cal Wahl and Principal Carl Fox
  • First Fund Accounting software in Montana and among the first in the United States to run on a PC.
  • The software is used to manage over $200 million in the General  Fund, and payroll to over 4,900 school personnel.
  • Used at over 90 school districts.
  • Can manage payroll for up to 350 school staff and teachers.
  • Visit the C& C School Accounting website for more information.

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]
Phone: 406-457-4401

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Technology Innovation
1309 NW Bypass - Great Falls, MT 59404  
[email protected]    
Phone: 406-727-5994   

Total Education Solutions in Technology (T.E.S.T)  
PO Box 2900
Missoula, MT 59805
[email protected]
Phone:  888-401-6950

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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
 A unique approach to teaching   K-6 math using hands-on,   interactive games
 37 E 28th Street Suite 600
 New York, NY 10016
 [email protected]

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Mileposts™ cloud-based
achievement & data management
408 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Ste.300
Boise, ID 83706 [email protected] 
valic (2).jpg - 30.26 KbAnnuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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School property & liability insurance
1200 North Montana Ave.
Helena. MT. 59601
[email protected]



Montana Mountain Sponsors

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

Lowest total operational cost clean 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]

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A leading provider of comprehensive Custodial, Grounds & Facility Operations and Maintenance services  
4702 Western Ave. Suite 101
Knoxville, TN 37921 [email protected]
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Connecting 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]                                                     
Phone: 208-292-2529  
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Amanda Burnette                                         
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 480
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[email protected]

Montana Meadow Sponsors

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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]
Phone: 800-353-8829

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Network and Communications Solutions 
904 C Avenue
Circle, MT 59215
[email protected]
Phone: 406-234-7470

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Technology planning, project  & solution  services
2135 Charlotte Street
Bozeman MT 59718
[email protected]      

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