My name is Nathan Reiff (pronounced Rife), and I work as a commercial lender at First Interstate Bank. I have lived in Great Falls for the past 18 years. During that time I worked for 14 years at the University of Providence, first as an assistant wrestling coach, then in the student affairs department as a freshmen experience coordinator, and then as the director of student engagement. In 2019, I moved to the Great Falls Development Authority as a business development officer and advisor. I moved to FIB in 2021. I have a daughter who is a senior at Great Falls High. As a family, we like to ski and travel. We are especially fond of Showdown and the great community atmosphere there. I love to cook and garden and am especially fond of my tomatoes.
I believe most community members value education and our schools, but many are not aware of the lack of funding and the needs of the school district. The district has had to cut staff and programs. The administration, along with KEY and other community members and businesses, have done a good job educating the public about these problems, and we need to continue to do this; especially in years (like this one) when the district is not asking for additional funding. Funding needs to be about engagement and connecting the value of the schools to the community. The previous years have been challenging for teachers, students, staff, administration, and parents. We will need to continue to focus on recovering the gap created by the pandemic to ensure we are helping students reach and meet their educational goals.
There have been a number of successes in programs and education. We have continued to build our apprenticeship programs and are poised to do even more with the continued development of our Career and Technical Education departments. We have expanded our outreach to homeless students and their families. This is essential as we work to keep them in school and ready to graduate and to be career and college ready. We adopted a new English curriculum that should help us overcome some of the learning loss, while providing additional challenges for those who continue to excel.
Schools, and an educated community, are an essential part of a vibrant community. I want to increase the strength of our educational system. That means working with teachers and administrators to understand their aspirations, concerns, and needs. I have benefited from the education my daughter has received. I have also seen how essential it is to have educated individuals for businesses. I would like the opportunity to give back to the school district by serving as a trustee.