HELENA—State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen has selected 16 people to serve on the Suicide Prevention and Response negotiated rulemaking committee (Committee). The Committee will provide a recommendation to Superintendent Arntzen to amend ARM 10.55.701, requiring a policy on suicide prevention programs in schools, and will consult on the preparation of an economic impact statement for the amendment.

The committee members represent a diverse group of Montanans who are experts in education, business, suicide prevention and response, culturally relevant practices, and school finance including individuals from the following groups:  school district trustees, K-12 school administrators, K-12 teachers and counselors, school business officials, parents, and taxpayers.  Members of the committee were selected based on the following criteria:  cultural diversity, geographic location, suicide prevention experience, district and school size, and grade levels served. The state agencies represented on the negotiated rulemaking committee are the Office of Public Instruction and the Board of Public Education.

“I am humbled to bring this highly qualified, diverse, and passionate group of Montanans together to discuss how we can best promote positive mental health for all of our students. Putting Montana students first through my Montana Hope initiative is my number one priority,” Arntzen said Monday.

Committee members include:

  • Kim Aarstad, East Helena Parent
  • Victoria Falls Down, Lodge Grass School Administrator
  • Cynthia Glavin, Big Timber K-12 Teacher
  • Dee Hensley-Maclean, Hamilton Parent of School Aged Children
  • Heather Ireland, East Helena Parent of School Aged Children
  • Heidi Kendall, Missoula School Trustee
  • Matthew Kuntz, Helena Taxpayer
  • Mary Kynett, Hobson K-12 Teacher
  • Jeramie Robinson, Helena School Counselor
  • Karl Rosston, Montana City Taxpayer
  • Melody Sand, Harlem School Counselor
  • Melissa Sanders, Savage K-12 Teacher
  • Susan Sherman, Kalispell School Counselor
  • Gail Staffanson, Brorson School Administrator
  • Rex Weltz, Polson School Administrator
  • Steven Zieglowsky, Stevensville School Counselor

OPI and Board of Public Education staff on the Committee include:

  • Timothy Tharp, Office of Public Instruction Deputy Superintendent
  • Linda Vrooman Peterson, Office of Public Instruction Accreditation and Educator Preparation Division Administrator
  • Karin Billings, Office of Public Instruction Health Enhancement and Safety Division Administrator
  • Tracy Moseman, Office of Public Instruction Director of Coordinated School Health
  • Kyle Moen, Office of Public Instruction Chief Legal Counsel
  • Peter Donovan, Board of Public Education Executive Director

Once the negotiated rulemaking committee finishes its work, it will be up to the Board of Public Education to approve the suggested amendment. The Committee will convene its first meeting on December 20th in Helena.

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