Five Essential Lessons of Graduation Matters Montana

by Deb Halliday – April 24, 2014

Keynote presentation, Title I Conference – Billings, Montana

Thank you for inviting me – we have some of the best folks at OPI working with you right here in this room. I am honored to be here. I also want to share with you my deep pleasure in having my daughter Mae here – she is a 7th grader at Helena Middle School, and it is National Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, so I have taken her on the road with me.

Later on today State Superintendent Denise Juneau and I will be opening our statewide Student Advisory Board meeting at the Yellowstone Art Museum. The theme is student voice in civic life. We will learn from high school students across the state what public policy issues are of greatest concern to them, and how well they feel our schools and our communities are equipping them to make a difference in their lives. I look forward to learning from them.


I was born in upstate New York – a landscape of cornfields and Finger Lakes – into a family that for generations were either teachers, or preachers.   Continue reading “Five Essential Lessons of Graduation Matters Montana”

“They want me for my cupcakes”

That’s what noted educational psychologist Dr. Marcia Gentry thought when she offered to help at her daughter’s school. Bake sales are a common enough way to engage family, but parents are more than cupcake-making machines.


When I joined the Office of Public Instruction, my Dad called to tell me I was the great great grand niece of Ida Clapp, a teacher in the Carolinas in the mid-1800s. As a young teacher in a young nation, Ida spent her days in the classroom and her evenings in town: hosting sewing circles, organizing potlucks and attending county dances.  Continue reading ““They want me for my cupcakes””

Welcome to! Connecting for Impact

Deb close up

I believe people are willing to and are even hungry to come together to have rich conversations, and to share different perspectives. We all want – at the core of our being – to make a difference. I believe that in the very make-up of what it is to be human, to have humanity, is our desire to make a difference, to know that the work we put in and the time we invest – the sleepless nights, the tears of victory and the tears of defeat – that all of that somehow matters. That we matter. We want, at the core, to be known, and to been seen.