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Meet the trustee candidates running in Swan River District

| April 21, 2023 12:00 AM

The Daily Inter Lake reached out to school board trustee candidates in contested elections. The information below was provided by candidates for Swan River District and edited for spelling, punctuation and space.

Swan River School District has two openings for three-year terms. Candidates are: incumbent Brooke Johnston, Matt Cottle and Cassie Kleffner.

Brooke Johnston (incumbent)

Occupation: Real estate broker/owner, Montana Brooke Real Estate.

Family: Hayden and Harli Hansen.

Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Montana, recreation management and business.

Background: Bigfork Chamber of Commerce advisory board chair and current Swan River trustee.

Why do you want to serve as a trustee? I am running to continue to serve the students, school and community with my experience and history as a trustee. Our future generations and teachers need team players to support them. As well as overseeing budgeting while keeping taxpayers' pockets books in mind. Having and keeping quality teachers and administrators in turn produces successful students that become quality contributing community members. In addition, maintaining a healthy learning and work environment at Swan River School.

Matt Cottle

Occupation: I am employed at Montana Ranch with an extensive background in agriculture and management of operations.

Education: Attended Bigfork High School and Wyoming Tech.

Background: Fourth-generation native. I have worked in agriculture all my life except my 13-year employment at Flathead Electric as a journeyman lineman.

Why do you want to serve as a trustee? The importance for our children to get a first class education in a safe environment is key to all our futures. I would appreciate your vote to serve our community as a school board trustee.

Cassie Kleffner

Occupation: I am a clinical resource nurse (clinical instructor) at Flathead Valley Community College of Nursing. Prior to that, I worked at Logan Health as a registered nurse.

Family: Married; two children.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing obtained through Montana State University via their Kalispell campus.

Background: I have supported, participated and/or volunteered in several school-related events. We attend many local events including our annual tradition of being Bigfork elves.

Why do you want to serve as a trustee? Swan River School promotes academic and personal growth in an environment reflective of the values and principles of the families in our community. I would like to maintain this culture and continue to ensure students thrive and are well-prepared for their secondary education. Additionally, I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to the community and encourage open dialogue that enhances and enriches the quality of our school and our students’ educational experience.