Author

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

OPI report: No evidence to support prison cheating

By: - December 7, 2022

An investigation into allegations a test administrator helped inmates cheat on a high school equivalency exam at the Shelby prison found “no confirming evidence” to support the claims, according to records from the Office of Public Instruction. “The reporting individual was unable to provide supporting evidence or additional witnesses to validate his claim,” the investigation […]

More scholarship funding, more reading, more teacher pay top Gianforte’s education priorities

By: - December 3, 2022

Gov. Greg Gianforte called on parents — and grandparents, aunts and uncles — to help close the learning gap that emerged after the COVID-19 pandemic by doing one thing. “It’s easy. Please read to your kids 20 minutes a day. This will help close the gap,” Gianforte said. Reading and math scores have fallen in […]

Tester’s office says Daines created political division he publicly criticized

By: - December 2, 2022

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines lobbied fellow Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose the confirmation of a University of Montana law professor for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. Daines’ office did not respond Friday to a request for comment. One day earlier, Daines’ […]

Anthony Johnstone nomination clears Senate Judiciary, heads to full Senate

By: - December 1, 2022

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved University of Montana law professor Anthony Johnstone’s nomination to be a judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on an 11-10-1 vote, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. The nomination now awaits a vote by the full Senate, controlled by Democrats.  “Anthony Johnstone has a […]

Montana University System survey: Higher ed worthwhile — if you can afford it

By: - November 30, 2022

More than half of Montanans want more tax dollars spent on higher education — and more than 80 percent see it as a pathway to upward economic mobility and other benefits. But Montanans worry about affordability. Just 41 percent of people less than 45 years old believe college is worth the cost. That’s according to […]

Montana team takes a national win at FFA convention

By: - November 26, 2022

Sporting traditional blue jackets and winning medals, Shaun Billingsley and Gus Turner of Missoula County Public Schools got a round of applause this month for bringing home a first place award from the national FFA convention — a first for the Missoula FFA team and first Montana win in more than a decade, according to […]

Forest Service: Holland Lake Lodge expansion plan rejected for now, but new plan possible

By: - November 23, 2022

The U.S. Forest Service has rejected an expansion proposal from Holland Lake Lodge due in part to inaccurate and inconsistent information in the plan, according to the Flathead National Forest. However, the Flathead National Forest will consider any updated proposal. On Nov. 21, Flathead National Forest Supervisor Kurt Steele issued a letter to the lodge […]

After public outcry, Montana standards for counselors, librarians, to stay in place

By: - November 23, 2022

The Montana Board of Public Education plans to keep existing ratios between students and librarians, school counselors and superintendents — contrary to the Office of Public Instruction’s recommendation to eliminate the minimum requirements. The board also plans to retain ratios between students and principals, which OPI had recommended changing. However, at a meeting last week […]

Montana nursing homes continue closing, residents, families stressed

By: - November 20, 2022

MISSOULA — Lonna Fox moved to Missoula in 1994 when her daughter, Sarah Koke, had her first baby, and “Grandma Lonna” has lived near her family ever since. She helped raise her grandkids even though she’s in a wheelchair from an old spinal cord injury. In 2013, Fox needed extra help, and she moved into […]

POWDR already in charge of Holland Lake Lodge, memo alleges

By: - November 17, 2022

POWDR, a Utah company identified as future owner of Holland Lake Lodge, is already in control of the Swan Valley resort, allege a couple of lawyers who are opponents of a lodge expansion proposal in a memo and review of public records. But the memo also alleges a U.S. Forest Service permit in use by […]

Montana Senate President wants COPP nominees selected soon, outlines process

By: - November 15, 2022

Senate President Mark Blasdel said he would like to present Gov. Greg Gianforte with nominees for Commissioner of Political Practices before the 2023 Montana Legislature.

Housing, budget surplus, the judiciary to be among ‘hot topics’ in Montana Legislature

By: - November 14, 2022

Housing. Mental health. The “partisan judiciary.” Property taxes. “Those will be the hot topics you hear about over and over and over again,” said Rep. Llew Jones, a Conrad Republican. Healthcare and provider rates. Plus, the budget surplus. “Our caucus is going to be really focused on how we build out an economy that works […]