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Reksten leads Polson schools

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POLSON — School District 23 has a new superintendent. Linda Reksten, Ph.D., comes to Polson from the Butte school district. 

After a tumultuous year of administrative and school board upheaval, Reksten has her work cut out for her.

Her first message to the administrative team and to the public explained that she is here to build a team to do great things for kids. Part of her role is to pull people together and help them work together better. 

Reksten has listed seven focus areas for the district. They include: student academic development, staff development, student needs, partnership with the community, facilities, Indian education and culture, and technology.

Under community partnership, Reksten has plans to form a Community Action Team of 50 to 75 community members, students, teachers and school administrators to develop a vision for the district’s future. 

“It’s very exciting,” Reksten said, “because the board is behind this.”

She’s also interested in developing a facilities master plan and delving into the way classrooms are set up so schools can move kids into 21st Century Skills, a national organization advocating 21st century readiness helping students prepare for and compete in a global economy.

There’s really no place for students to gather to work on projects or for teachers to meet, she said.

But the big goal, Reksten said, “is going to be about the kids. We’re not successful unless the kids are successful.”  

Reksten has not been happy with No Child Left Behind in the state of Montana, since it is based on competitive grants.

“We’re a rural state. We can’t compete with L.A. and Dallas,” Reksten said. “My feeling is to just scale down the Department of Education, distribute those funds to the states and let the states decide.”

On a personal note, her parents live in Polson, so Reksten is glad to be coming home. Describing herself as “very Norwegian,” Reksten explained that she has roots in the Mission Valley. Her father’s parents first homesteaded out in Irvine Flats. Her mother’s family, the Clines, were also a founding family. Originally they had a flour mill, and her grandfather, John Cline, operated Cline Motors. 

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