The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Harlem Welcomes Eleven New Staff Members


September 2, 2020

Amy Main

Harlem School District has added eleven new staff members to their ranks, and Superintendent Doreen Warren welcomes them to the school and community.

Harlem's new Junior/Senior High Assistant Principal, David Murray grew up in Sidney and identifies as a "huge Griz fan." This is his 17th year in education and his second as an administrator. He last served at Culbertson High School, where he still teaches drivers' education in the summer time. He hopes to serve with Harlem for many years to come. "This will be an interesting and challenging year because of COVID, but it should be great year. Go, Wild Cats," Murray said.

Gail Wilcott accepted the position to teach junior high math. She graduated from White Sulphur Springs High School and completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from MSU-Billings (MSU-B). Her first teaching assignment was in Ringling, Montana.

Later, she reenrolled at MSU-B and earned a Special Education (SPED) endorsement. For the last several years, she has taught in Whitewater, everything from K-12 SPED to working in a 5/6 combination, 4-5-6 combination, and finally 4-5 combination classrooms.

Wilcott is married to Larry, and the couple has two grown children: Ailee (pronounced eye-lee), who is a nurse; and Joseph, who is a fiber optics splicer. The Wilcotts are also the proud grandparents of five-month-old Samuel, who is Joseph and Liza's son.

Wilcott expressed excitement at the opportunity to be teaching and working with the Harlem Wildcats and the Harlem community.

The new high school English teacher will be Matthew Hodgson, the son of Frances (Nemes) and James Hodgson. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with a writing option from Montana State University-Bozeman in 2019. He then went on to earn a Master of Humanities in English Literature from the University of Chicago in 2020 and is currently enrolled through MSU-B working on his Master of Education Degree.

While an undergraduate student in Bozeman, Hodgson worked as a journalist in Big Sky, where he learned a great deal about social politics. However, most of the experience he will bring to Harlem High School derives from his service as a substitute teacher in the district.

"I started substituting off and on here in 2017, and I've enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the students and faculty. Although I didn't expect to be teaching this year, the position came as a wonderful surprise. I'm excited to play a role in the students' lives during these unusual times and perhaps teach them about the pleasures of reading and writing for personal development and self-expression," Hodgson stated.

Hodgson, who takes pride in being a lifelong learner, recently began working on glass crafting. When he is not teaching English at Harlem High School, he can be found playing music, writing, or kayaking on one of Montana's "beautiful bodies of water."

The high school will also welcome three paraprofessionals: Patricia Garcia, Amelia (Amy) Main, and Margaret Bear; while Joyce Ironstar will provide extra help in the kitchen.

David Murray

At Harlem Elementary School, Ruth Stephenson will serve as the school counselor. Stephenson earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Idaho State University and her Master of School Counseling through Chapman University, a private university in Orange, California. She has worked as a middle school teacher and counselor in Las Vegas, Nevada, for 21 years and is looking forward to serving the children and parents of Harlem Elementary.

"Hello, Harlem and Fort Belknap! I am thrilled to be here in North Central Montana. I believe in the power of leading with kindness, listening with my heart, and showing respect for each individual," Stephenson said.

In her free time, Stephenson enjoys outdoor activities, theater, sewing and creating, especially when she can share this time with her family and friends.

Other new hires at the elementary school include Magnolia McCann, who will serve in the Elementary Special Education department; and Robin Folk and Tara Zuelke, who will both work as paraprofessionals.


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