by Karen Lyncoln
For the Pathfinder
October 28, 1999
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
"I think my greatest strength is that I know and have good relationships with the faculty," said Tom Larson, who was recently appointed the new Principal of the Seeley Lake Elementary School. Larson works as Principal 40% of his time and continues to teach music at the Seeley-Swan High School 60% of his time.
Larson views his job as being the Principal Teacher at the Elementary School. He describes his primary assignments as updating the curriculum guidelines and teacher evaluation process. Curriculum guidelines are developed and periodically revised for all subjects taught at the school. They contain the goals and objectives of each program and teachers use the guidelines to shape the direction of their teaching.
Larson describes teacher evaluations as a collaborative process that is flexible yet thorough. A group of schools similar to Seeley Lake Elementary School work together to develop teacher standards.
In addition, he works as a facilitator between various groups so that the opinions of the school's faculty, staff, parents, and students all get heard.
"I believe that each person is to be honored and valued in this school," says Larson as he describes the philosophy that shapes his dealing with everyone. He maintains an open door policy to discuss issues at the school.
Larson has been a teacher for many years. He graduated from high school in Laurel and then went on to University of Montana. He worked on a specialist degree in education and administration and came to Seeley Lake in 1991 as a music teacher - half time at the high school and half time at the elementary school
"We're pleased that Tom decided to step up to this position," said John Hebnes, Superintendent of the Seeley Lake Elementary School.