GREAT FALLS – After six years, Great Falls Public Schools superintendent Tammy Lacey is retiring.
“It has been an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs,” Lacey said.
Having served as an elementary school principal for eight years and as the district’s human resource director for six years, Lacey was ready to hop on board.
“I don’t think until you are superintendent and you’re sitting in this seat, which is often the hot seat, do you really understand what it is to live in each of those moments,” Lacey said.
She has had her fair share of accomplishments.
“It’s just one of those moments I’m really proud of,” Lacey said.
To name a few: passing operational mill levies to help fund schools, declining dropout rates, increasing graduation rates, rebuilding schools and opening health clinics.
“The ‘great’ in Great Falls means something to me as a hometown girl. I want Great Falls to have great schools,” Lacey said.
But with every rollercoaster ride, once you go up, you must come down.
“I think I’ve put a positive spin on that and made it work. We’ve tried to keep as much as we could away from the students, but that is becoming impossible to do,” Lacey said.
Last year, an operational mill levy did not pass, something Lacey strongly advocated for.
“I think we can face those challenges and I think we can come together. I think we can keep the ‘great’ in Great Falls and in Great Falls Public Schools,” Lacey said.
But as she steps off this ride and into retirement, Lacey is remembering the relationships she built with the staff, students and community.
“I’m going to be watching Great Falls Public Schools and hopefully find ways I can support the school district in different ways than sitting in this hot seat,” Lacey said.
Lacey said she does not plan to run for Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Instead, she is going to enjoy retirement for now.
Lacey added she will continue to serve as vice president on the Montana Board of Public Education.
“A big thank you to this community for the opportunity that I’ve had over the last six years as the superintendent. I’ve met so many incredible people. I’ve had the chance to really sit down shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, to really tackle hard problems in our community. The opportunity to really work alongside some really brilliant minds in this community that want the same thing as I do,” Lacey said.
Her final official day as superintendent is June 28.
Tom Moore will succeed her.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News