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Mike Perry
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Mike Perry

The impact of education has always been on my mind as I have gone through my life and career. I was adopted as a baby having been born to 15 year old parents. My adoptive parents were both hard working but had no education past high school. They were divorced after I turned one and were both shortly remarried. I spent my youth traveling back and forth between my parents as they moved around to various locations. I looked back on my K-12 education and realized that I attended 13 different schools during that time. I witnessed a wide variety of educational experiences during that journey through various rural and urban settings. Watching the life my parents were building showed me the importance of higher education in my life’s goals. During my first year of college I met a wonderful young lady that also valued the importance of education and indeed became the first college graduate in her family. She has always encouraged and supported me in my goals and I was able to become the first from my multiple families to graduate from college. As a result of the influence of a number of incredible educators during my junior and senior years of high school I decided to go into education to try and have that same impact on other individuals going through their educational experience. The first year in the classroom occurred when I was twenty-eight years old and I quickly learned how important it was to have a supportive administrator in order to be successful in the classroom. The superintendent in an adjoining district encouraged me to pursue a Master’s degree and my administrative credentials. The Master’s program utilized a cohort model and I was surrounded by an amazing group of like minded students and educators that made the program an incredible learning experience. As a result of a desire to increase my own knowledge base and with the support of my wife and a few of the university professors I decided to pursue a doctoral degree. I have worked hard to show my own children and others that I work with that the circumstances of your upbringing only serve as the beginning of the journey that you design for yourself. The awarding of my terminal degree feels like a sign to my teachers, family and community at large the value I put on education. The years I have spent in education have been focused on making school a place of safety, security and life altering place to be for all students. Every student deserves to be seen, heard and known in their school. In my own schooling I learned how my own learning was directly impacted when I felt like the staff knew who I was versus feeling like just a number. I don’t want any student in a school I’m part of to have the feeling they are a number. Entering my 25th year in education, the last 11 as a superintendent, I still look forward to every day as an opportunity to positively impact the lives of students and provide them with the tools to be anything they desire. The experiences that I had as a student, teacher and principal have served to shape my leadership style and impact my goals as a superintendent. Every parent remembers any bad experience they had as a student. I also remember them so I strive to make sure that our students don’t have those same experiences. I want every student to feel like they are valued and have a voice in their education. The administration and teachers know that I want each student to have an educational plan that fits them individually and not as part of the group. We strive to stay in close communication at all times with parents and guardians so they also feel as a valued member of the educational team for their student. I truly believe that these steps will increase the buy in from both students and parents/guardians in our system.

Past AASA Montana Superintendent of the Year Winners:

2022 Montana Superintendent of the Year: Brad Moore

2021 Montana Superintendent of the Year: Laurie Barron

2020 Montana Superintendent of the Year: Les Meyer

About the Award:

The Superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by First Student and AASA, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools.

State-level winners are selected on the following criteria:

    • Leadership for Learning
    • Communication
    • Professionalism
    • Community Involvement

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