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.”

Zinke attacks Libertarian Lamb, Tranel points to GOP opponent’s ‘lies’

By: - September 30, 2022

When Monica Tranel corrected Ryan Zinke on the full name of the monopoly power utility in Montana, the audience broke the “no cheering” rule. Zinke, the Republican and former congressman running for the U.S. House of Representatives, touted American energy as cleaner and better than foreign energy. He pointed to his opponent, “an environmental attorney” […]

Medicaid in-home care client fears losing independence with low rates

By: - September 28, 2022

Robin Zehntner, 31, doesn’t have the use of her fingers, and caregivers help her 31.5 hours a week with morning tasks such as brushing her teeth or getting into bed in the evening. “I kind of live in daily fear because, will I be able to get out of bed tomorrow?” said Zehntner, of Missoula. […]

University of Montana, Montana State, count enrollment wins with incoming classes

By: - September 26, 2022

Montana’s flagship campuses notched enrollment wins this fall with incoming classes — including the second-largest one for Montana State University — although both universities saw slight dips in total students compared to 2021. The University of Montana counted its largest incoming class in six years, at 1,351, and one that’s 6 percent bigger than 2021, […]

Reading, math scores slump for Montana students

By: - September 26, 2022

Fewer than half of Montana students are reading at or above grade level, at 46.1 percent, and just 36.5 percent are proficient in math, according to data released this month from the Montana Office of Public Instruction. The low scores reflect national trends following the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing classroom shutdowns or periods where schools […]

Former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Burns, U.S. Marshal for Montana, passes away in Bahrain

By: - September 23, 2022

Leo Giacometto once rode a Smurf-colored convertible Ford Mustang through Glacier National Park, but he preferred the wide expanses of his ranch in Alzada, said Aurelia Skipwith Giacometto. “He was like, ‘This is so much better. Over there, the mountains block the view. The prairie is much better,’” said Aurelia Giacometto, his wife, in a […]

Montana education experts take questions on democracy, teacher pay, ‘equity’

By: - September 19, 2022

With the tenuous state of affairs in government in the United States, are Montana children learning the tenets of democracy? And are students being homeschooled still meeting educational standards? “We’re kind of in a crisis in this country,” said Lorraine Bond, who identified herself as an educator and social worker in Missoula. “And if kids […]

Hank Green hosts event with Monica Tranel in Missoula, will host Bozeman event in October

By: - September 17, 2022

Online media sensation Hank Green instructed the crowd soon after he took the stage: Calculate the dollars worth of boba tea you’ve consumed the last month, take out a phone, and donate that amount to Monica Tranel. “Just one? That’s $6.95 at Pearl. Unless you got extra boba,” Green said, to laughter. Tranel, the Democrat […]

Montana’s educator Code of Ethics partly revised, but without the word ‘equity’

By: - September 16, 2022

A motion that the Montana Board of Public Education adopt an updated Code of Ethics for educators — with the word “equity” included — didn’t get a second this week. Instead, the Board adopted Thursday a separate motion to accept a couple of changes but send the portion with the term “equity” back to an […]

Updated: Zinke attacks Libertarian on veterans with election eight weeks out

By: - September 14, 2022

Libertarian John Lamb published a screenshot from a ZinkeforMontana post this week that attributes a quote insulting veterans to Lamb — a quote Lamb said he never uttered. However, Lamb, a Norris farmer, took pride of sorts in the attack, which he said followed a request last month by Republican Ryan Zinke that Lamb bow […]

Missoula City Council votes in new mayor; Councilor Jordan Hess to take oath

By: - September 13, 2022

After many deadlocked votes and an emotional concession speech, the Missoula City Council voted late Monday to appoint Councilman Jordan Hess as the next mayor of Montana’s second-largest city. “I am humbled, and I am honored, and I am terrified, and I am delighted and excited about this opportunity,” said Hess, on council since 2014. […]

Judges, county, defendants debate whether Ravalli County violates inmates’ constitutional rights

By: - September 12, 2022

If a judge orders a criminal defendant to test for drugs as a condition of being released from jail, who should pay for the service? Should the county pay? The state? Should the defendant? What if the person doesn’t have money? In a lawsuit heard last week in U.S. District Court in Missoula, lawyer Constance […]

MFPE, others also object to elimination of ‘trauma’ from educator standards

By: - September 8, 2022

At the most recent hearing about proposed changes to standards for Montana educators, one teacher said it made no sense that the Office of Public Instruction had eliminated references to “trauma.” Jenny Murnane Butcher said educators need to understand trauma to be able to help children who are showing signs of stress in the classroom.  […]