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From Horseback to Riding a Desk

About me: I am a third generation Montanan with a wide variety of experiences to bring to the classroom.When you get to be my age, you had better have a wide variety of experiences to bring to the classroom.

Family Background: I was born in Billings and raised on a farm and ranch 45 miles northwest of Billings. I am the eldest of eight children, so I guess you could say I’ve been studying child psychology most of my life. Today, my son is reaping the benefits of having a rancher for a grandfather.  He is learning to work cattle and ride just as I did when I was his age.  The values and character that are learned in a rural setting are becoming a part of him, and I am grateful for that.

My wife Natalie and I have been married now for eighteen years and we have one son, Kristopher, and two dogs, Shadow a black schnauzer, and Coco, a German shorthair/Labrador mix.

Life/Work Experience: As I said, I was born and raised on a ranch. I am grateful for the experience since it taught me so much about responsibility and work ethic. I also owned my own business for about a year in which I sold and constructed steel buildings and grain bins. I’ve worked as a bartender, a ranch hand, a newspaper reporter, Musselshell County Weed Supervisor, FSA Field Reporter, and several other part time jobs trying to make a buck or two wherever possible. For the past six years, I’ve also been a member of the Roundup City Council and Musselshell County Weed Board here in Roundup, Montana. I’ve been a teacher of English, history, journalism, career education and school to work coordinator along with several coaching assignments at Roundup High School for the past 20 years.

Education: I received my elementary and secondary education at Lavina Public Schools. I graduated from there in 1976. I started my post-secondary education at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming, but decided after one semester that I already knew everything they could possibly teach me and quit school. After a year and a half of fighting drought and then the worst winter in nearly 50 years, I decided there had to be a better way to make a living and went back to school at Montana State University-Billings and earned a Bachelor of Science in History and English in 1982.  At present I am completing a Masters in Technology Education from Boise State University.  If my studies go as planned I will finish my degree work during in during the summer of 2005.

Heritage Education: Getting involved in Heritage Education fundamentally changed my view of how education works.  Interviews with community elders (or as my partner Tom Thakeray says: persons of experience), have motivated my students in ways that cannot be put into words.  Each year I treasure the time I spend with my colleagues in the project, and the students that I work with because I am continually pushed to be better at what I do.  Thank you to all involved in the project from top to bottom.

Posted by Tim Schaff on 02/07 at 04:28 PM






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