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.”

University of Montana law school dean finalists discuss national ranking, Title IX and fly fishing

By: - April 13, 2022

Fly fishing, high national rankings, Title IX challenges and housing prices were among the topics three finalists for dean of the University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law discussed in recent campus forums. The recorded forums, (available here) are part of the search committee’s review of candidates, who talked about challenges and opportunities at […]

Daily Montanan, Montana Federation of Public Employees, sue Board of Public Ed

By: - April 13, 2022

The Daily Montanan and Montana Federation of Public Employees are asking the Lewis and Clark County District Court to void a decision by the Board of Public Education, arguing it was made without proper public notice or the opportunity for public participation. In a lawsuit submitted Friday, the plaintiffs allege the Board of Public Education […]

Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks at University of Montana about bipartisanship

By: - April 12, 2022

Gov. Greg Gianforte said he goes into every conversation expecting to learn something, a lesson he took away from influential and controversial author Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life.” In the 2021 Montana Legislature, the Republican governor met with majority and minority leadership every week, with no agenda, he said. If you hear the critic, […]

Audit finds cybersecurity concerns at Montana State University, University of Montana

By: - April 6, 2022

Cybersecurity is at risk at both Montana State University and the University of Montana, and both campuses are vulnerable to data breaches and ransomware attacks, according to an information systems report from the Legislative Audit Division. “Each university is in a place where they are spending valuable time reacting to the effects of risks as […]

Groups line up to weigh in on the subject of carrying guns on Montana campuses

By: - April 5, 2022

From the looks of it, the Montana Supreme Court has a lot of friends. That’s one conclusion to be drawn from the stacks of paper submitted as “friends of the court” briefs in a lawsuit regarding House Bill 102, which expanded the right to carry firearms in Montana, including on public campuses. Late last year, […]

Montana code of ethics for educators erupted with just the addition of the word ‘equity’

By: - April 4, 2022

Kelly Elder, a sixth grade teacher in Helena, never expected that including the word “equity” in the Professional Educators of Montana Code of Ethics would elicit strong opposition. “Absolutely not,” said Elder, chair of the Certification Standards and Practices Advisory Council. “ … I was completely surprised by an outpouring of testimonials, many people wanting […]

Green Party candidates on 2022 ballot, plaintiffs awarded fees

By: - April 2, 2022

The Montana Secretary of State must recognize the Green Party as a political party in the State of Montana for the 2022 election, according to an order this week from a U.S. District Court in Montana. Additionally, Judge Brian Morris said the plaintiffs who sued in the matter are awarded roughly $70,000 in total attorney […]

University of Montana law school dean finalists to visit campus

By: - March 31, 2022

Two law professors and one partner in private practice are the three finalists for dean of the University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law who will be on campus for candidate forums following a recruitment for a “dynamic and visionary academic with administrative and faculty experience.” “The committee and I were pleased with […]

Gianforte Administration opposes ‘equity’ in educator ethics code, demands change

By: - March 29, 2022

Against the advice of legal counsel — but under the bullish urging of Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras — the Montana Board of Public Education amended its agenda earlier this month to declare that one of its advisory councils acted without authority when it included “equity” as part of the educator code of ethics. The split […]

Plaintiffs in Title IX identify 76 potential litigants in discrimination case against UM

By: - March 28, 2022

A group of plaintiffs alleging gender discrimination against the University of Montana and the Montana University System have counted 72 other people to date who they argue could potentially make similar claims, according to a brief and motion filed last week in U.S. District Court in Missoula to certify the Title IX lawsuit as a […]

Montana superintendent of public instruction hires special education director

By: - March 26, 2022

After JP Williams nearly died from COVID-19 in spring 2021, he said he made a commitment to himself: “When I get out of this, I’m going to go to the wall for every child that I can help, no matter if they were going to my school or another school.” Friday, the Montana Office of […]

Billings Clinic announces pursuit of Level I Trauma designation, $30M campaign

By: - March 24, 2022

Billings Clinic announced Thursday that it’s pursuing a Level I Trauma Center designation to offer the highest level of lifesaving care in the region — and a $30 million capital campaign is underway to achieve the distinction. “This is a transformational effort that will increase the level of lifesaving trauma care for patients and families […]