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York leaves Linderman for OPI position

POLSON — Linderman Elementary School Principal Steve York will be leaving School District #23. York’s last day will be Jan. 22, and he starts his new job at the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) on Feb. 1. York’s title at OPI will be Deputy Director/Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

“I’m really sad to go,” York said from his light-filled office.

“This school, this district, this community, the whole valley is very near and dear to my heart,” York added. 

York said his main comforter in leaving the job is that he’ll be helping all of Montana’s kids. He had nothing but praise for his professional staff of “teachers who go way above and beyond, who are confident, supportive and are truly making a difference in the life of kids. They have a tremendous amount of ability and a lot to share. ” 

The Linderman staff will miss him, too.

Third grade teacher Chris Fischer said, “I am very sad. I think Mr. York is a wonderful person … He knows the names of all the kids and honestly cares for them … it’s not just a job to him.”

“I’m happy for him (Steve York) but saddened for us,” said Arlee Freemole, Special Education Aid. 

“We’ll miss him greatly,” second grade teacher Melinda Orchard said.

And it’s not only the staff that will miss York.

A group of fourth graders from Mrs. Davis’ class were going out to recess with tears in their eyes. When asked why they were crying, the students answered because Mr. York was leaving.

One child commented that Mr. York welcomed them like no other principal.

“He knows my name,” another student said.

While a change of principal is tough on everyone, Math Coach Cherie Stobie, who already teaches at Linderman, will step into York’s role. Stobie said she and York only have about a week to make the transition.

“Tom (DeGiallonardo) and Elaine (Meeks) will help me out, mentor me,” Stobie added.  

York and Stobie have been visiting each classroom to tell the students Mr. York is leaving. Stobie said York told the kids there are 381 students in Linderman Elementary School, but there are 143,000 in the state of Montana and he is going to make school better for all the kids.

York said he asked his dad what he needed to know to go into the education field. 

His dad said, “One thing those kids care about is that you genuinely care about them and you care enough about them to expect them to do their best every day.”

“He told me that in the summer of 1978,” York said, “and I’ve not forgotten it.” 

York based everything he does in education on that advice, and now he’s taking it to OPI to apply statewide.

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