Paine selected as Flathead principal

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Michele Paine will be recommended for the principal position at Flathead High School following an interview committee’s decision.

Paine is currently serving as interim principal. The recommendation will go before Kalispell Public Schools board of trustees March 20.

Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Mark Flatau made the announcement in an email to staff Tuesday.

In the email, Flatau remarked on Flathead’s history and its future as it is slated for major renovations.

“First built in 1910, FHS has a long standing tradition of excellence and is recognized throughout Montana as an innovative, progressive and academic leader. As a premier International Baccalaureate (IB) high school, FHS’s identity as an IB school continues to evolve.

“It was clear in the interview process that Michele has vision, passion and experience to not only honor the past but to prepare FHS in the coming years for continued educational excellence.”

Paine started working in Kalispell Public Schools in 1998 as a Title 1 reading and English tutor at the Kalispell Junior High and then served as a reading intervention teacher at Flathead. In 2005, Paine became the kindergarten through 12th-grade language arts facilitator for the district — returning to Flathead as assistant principal in 2011. Paine began her career in the classroom in 1994 as a language arts, reading and art teacher at Kennedy Junior High School in Utah.

Paine holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a teaching certification from the University of Washington. She received a Master of Education in curriculum instruction from Montana State University and her K-12 principal certification from the University of Montana.

Three other candidates interviewed for the principal position including: Chad Bourgeois, principal at Buffalo High School in Wyoming; Tres Genger, principal at Lindbergh High School in Renton, Washington; and Robert Macauley, former principal at Glencoe High School in Oregon.

Paine and Genger were among four finalists initially interviewed for the principal position in May 2017 following the resignation of Peter Fusaro.

The district’s first selection to replace Fusaro rescinded his acceptance of the position amid plagiarism allegations in an acceptance letter. The second choice, Genger, was offered the position, but turned it down. Paine was selected to step in as interim, moving up from an assistant principal position, in July 2017.

“In her current role as Interim Principal, Michele has already made some positive changes. She is excited to continue implementing her vision for FHS and continue to work with her team of outstanding educators and staff members to build on its tradition of excellence,” Flatau stated in the email.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or

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