GREAT FALLS – 34 years ago, Tammy Lacey started her career in the Great Falls Public School (GFPS) system teaching first grade at Valley View Elementary School.
This year, her final year as Superintendent of Great Falls Public Schools, she had the opportunity to go back to where it all began and teach Mrs. Smith’s third grade class for a half day.
Each year at GFPS’s convocation, which is the day before school starts, staff is brought together for a drawing of sixteen names. Staff that are included in this drawing are board members and cabinet members. This drawing is for staff to get picked for a half a day to utilize it how they want to, whether it be spending the half day as a janitor, a teacher, or doing any staff member’s job.
Tammy said, “It’s fabulous to be able to come back today and spend some time with the third graders and just marvel at how things have changed in those 34 years.“
Tammy’s day-to-day job as Superintendent of Great Falls schools includes the business side of things, by running and supervising the district. She added, “All of the work that we do is really for the kids, so to be here in the classroom with them is really exciting.”
As far as the way Valley View Elementary looks compared to 34 years ago, Tammy says it has not changed very much. But, looking at what is happening in those classrooms is very different.
One example she noted is how there wasn’t even one computer in the entire school back then, but now every student has the opportunity to learn on computers.
Tammy Lacey will retire at the end of this 2018-2019 school year. For her to come back to where she started her career all those years ago during her last year with GFPS, she said one word to describe it would be “bittersweet.”
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News