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Krantz brings experience to new position

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POLSON – Jay Krantz enjoys being on the cutting edge while broadening his view.

Krantz, 59, has been teaching Tech Ed, which includes mechanical and architectural drawing, for 36 years.

This year he decided to do something a little different.

Krantz is the new activities director at Polson High School, where he has taught Tech Ed for the past 20 years. He replaces Jay Sampson, who became vice principal, which was part of the shakeup created by the retirement of Polson Schools Superintendent Linda Reksten.

Krantz said the new job enables him to see a side of extracurricular activities that he hadn’t seen before. Examples include speech and debate, theater, golf, cross-country and soccer.

Krantz has been heavily involved in coaching throughout his career, including football, basketball, softball and track, so becoming the activities director, which also includes managing athletic schedules and events, was a natural.

The Ronan High graduate played on his alma mater’s only state football championship team in 1974 as a senior. The two-way starter played fullback and middle linebacker. Although he’s received his share of ribbing over the years from Ronan residents about coaching their rival, Krantz said that he’s enjoyed it.

“You never know where you’ll end up in your career,” he said.

He notes that it will be nice to see the Ronan Chiefs back in Class A next year after a short stint in Class B. The new Northwest A Conference will include: Polson, Ronan, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Libby and Browning. It will lose Frenchtown to the Southwest A Conference. Krantz began his teaching career in Noxon, where he was for 16 years before teaching at Ronan for one year. Then it was on to Polson.

He spends his afternoons focused on activities and athletics, but he still teaches Tech Ed in the mornings.

Tech Ed has come a long way since he first started.

He recalls that Noxon High School was only the third school in the state to get a computer drafting lab. That was in 1984.

His students today use a 3D printer, which came this year, a plasma cutter, which has been used to cut metal up to a half-inch thick for use in computer designs since last year, and a big laser engraver, which came three years ago.

With the laser engraver, students are able to engrave all the school’s plaques, trophies and signs.

Krantz was fortunate enough to teach his oldest daughter, Addie Kinsel, in his construction and drafting classes, and coach his youngest daughter, Skyla Krantz, in softball and basketball.

“I really enjoyed both of those,” he said. “It’s precious now that they’re both gone.”

His girls are now in northern Idaho. Kinsel is married, has a 2-year-old son, and teaches elementary school in Post Falls, while Skyla is a sophomore at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene.

“It’s amazing how much time you spend with your kids,” he said, adding that’s one of the reasons he felt comfortable taking on a job that requires him to work evenings now that they’re “out of the nest.” He works all of Polson High School’s home meets, matches, games and events.

Krantz doesn’t slow down in the summer. He’s had his own construction company, Jayko Construction, for 25 years. He and three teachers who help him typically build a house or two in their “off-season,” he said.

He and LouAnne Krantz met at the former Western Montana College in Dillon and got married after his first year teaching at Noxon. She is the librarian at Polson Middle School and was anxious to help him get started in his new position over the summer.

She helped by making magnets and inserting colored-coded cut-out papers on them for use on his white board, which he uses for scheduling events.

“She loves bulletin boards,” he said, smiling.

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