Libby Schools’ superintendent passes on the torch Libby Public Schools staff begins planning for the 2020-2021 school year

Top: Craig Barringer, outgoing superintendent of Libby Public Schools. Bottom: Ron Goodman, incoming superintendent of Libby Public Schools. Goodman is posed with his wife holding his plaque for Principal of the Year awarded to him by the Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals in 2016.  Photos courtesy of Craig Barringer.

By Tracy McNew


On Friday, June 5, Libby School District released a letter to families and the community acknowledging the challenges of closing the 2019-20 school year without students attending in person for the last few months. In the letter, superintendent, Craig Barringer, wrote, “The look of the 2020-2021 school year is still in the planning stages. There will be meetings throughout the summer to prepare for the possible scenarios.”

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, schools and families have been forced to adjust to constant change, and in addition, their leadership is changing. Barringer, Superintendent of Libby Public Schools for the past six years, is taking retirement in Montana and moving to Wyoming to become Superintendent at another district.

The school board has already hired previous Libby Elementary School (LES) principal, Ron Goodman, to take Barringer’s place in the coming school year. He will start his new position on July 1. Goodman left his post at LES and has been working for Edward Jones for the past few years, but according to Barringer, he belongs in education.

“Libby is going to be in very good hands with Ron,” said Barringer. “Education is the right place for him. He builds strong relationships and can always find a way to say yes. He will make this a better place for staff to work and for students to attend.”

Barringer told The Montanian that his favorite part of the job has been seeing students graduate each year and knowing that the work done by all of their parents’ teachers’, coaches’ and others’ to support them over the years has paid off. Accomplishments over the past six years have included passing a levy for renovations and upgrades including replacing roofs and putting in a new gym floor. Libby Schools also started the first vocational charter program in the state of Montana spearheaded by Mr. Love. The district started a very successful preschool program that has continued past grant funding of the program. In addition, math test scores have improved by 20% over the last five years, and assessment scores have increased by 15%.

Barringer credits, not himself for these successes, but the teachers and other staff in the buildings. Good leadership supports that work though, and he feels confidant that Goodman is and will continue to be a good leader for Libby.

Goodman began with the district in 2004 as a teacher and became principal of LES when the middle and high schools combined. In 2016-2017, he was named Principal of the Year by the Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals (MAEMSP). He was nominated by Barringer and by teachers whom he supervised. They credited him for advancing literacy, creating a more positive environment, and making the best of change.

With the uncertainty of Coronavirus, these leadership skills should be an advantage for Libby Schools moving forward.

Liberty on Parade in Libby, 4th of July

By Brian Baxter


A local committee of American citizens and patriots are offering the community a celebration of the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1776. This July 4, 2020, marks the 244th year since our nation stood up to a tyrannical government and declared our independence.

In a documented statement by the chairman of this new local committee, he wrote, “I fear with the current state of the world that many have forgotten and lost sight as to what our founding fathers had envisioned for us. We are at greater risk with the cancellation of the Troy Old Fashioned 4th of July show. I feel it is the job of myself and other Patriots to provide the community with a celebration so that the world, at least our community, will remember what this day means to us as a nation and what it means to mankind.”

In fact, historical accounts of the second Continental Congress recorded that John Adams in his excitement at the vote to finally pass the declaration, suggested that July 4 should be celebrated by succeeding generations as a great anniversary festival.

On June 7, 1776, during a session in Philadelphia in the State House (later Independence Hall), the Continental Congress heard Richard Henry Lee of Virginia read his resolution beginning, “Resolved that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

The Independence Hall Association, gives some historic timeline to the events that followed. On June 11 of 1776, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston were appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence. Over the next four to five days, Jefferson drafted a declaration, of which only a fragment exists today, as well as a cleaner copy. Both documents are in the manuscript collections of the Library of Congress. At the end of June, the clean copy was read in Congress, and as July began the body debated and revised the document. On July 2, Congress declared independence as the British fleet and army arrived in New York. Think of the courage that took. The British forces were known as one of the best equipped, well disciplined, and successful military powers in the history of the world at that time.

Thirteen colonies along the eastern portion of North America were willing to take them on for the cause of freedom. In the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day on July 4, 1776, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. On July 19, General George Washington ordered the document read before the American Army in New York. The War of Independence had officially begun.

The Liberty on Parade in Libby committee has already garnered a small army of volunteers. They are reaching out to businesses in Libby, Troy, Yaak, and Eureka to become involved, and they are looking for folks to participate in the parade and to set up as vendors. Email Libbymtjuly042020, call 406-298-5296, or find Liberty on Parde in Libby on Facebook for more information.

The parade has been organized to begin at the Libby Chamber of Commerce’s parking lot, and include a walk by the Care Center so that those folks can view the parade. For people that may be experiencing challenged health or compromising conditions, there will be places where you can watch, and if you feel apprehensive about attending their Celebration of Independence, they understand. The parade route will continue through Mineral Avenue and end up at the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars parking lot. A complete map of the route is available on their Facebook event.

The schedule of events begins with a Patriotic Fun Color Run at eight a.m. on Saturday, July Fourth. The parade will commence at ten a.m., and festivities will begin at J. Neil’s Park at 11 a.m. The day will include merchandise vendors, food vendors, a cornhole tournament, tug of war, a dunk tank, a car show, a pie eating contest, and live music. A fireworks show by Pyromania will close the event. Organizers are in touch with fire safety entities to assure a safe evening. Attendants will assist with parking cars, and a shuttle service will be available from Riverfront Park to J. Neil’s Park for overflow parking. The VFW will be in charge of a beer garden. Entrance to the event is free, parking is free, and the shuttle is free. The committee will be asking for donations from patrons for services provided such as parking. There will be an entry fee for car show participants to be paid out to the winner to be chosen by popular vote. Specific costs for other special events such as the cornhole tournament and the tug of war had not been set as of this writing. All proceeds will go to charities around town that have missed fundraising opportunities due to the state of the world.

The Committee and organizers would like all the community to enjoy this Independence Day Holiday, and to remember what this day means to us as a nation, and what it means to mankind. They would like to share this quote from “A Son Of Liberty” (Silas Downer) 1768, A Disclosure at the Dedication of the Tree of Liberty: “Government is necessary. It was instituted to secure to individuals that natural liberty, which no human creature hath a right to deprive them of. For which end the rulers to use as there may be occasion for the good of whole community, and not that the civil magistrate , who is only the peoples trustee, make use of it for the hurt of the governed.”


Libby Volunteer Ambulance welcomes new volunteers

By Tracy McNew


Libby Volunteer Ambulance (LVA) held their monthly meeting on Thursday, June 3 with a newly reinforced crew of volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs) ready to serve south Lincoln County.

LVA recently hosted a four-month long EMT course to train additional local volunteers and bolster their numbers. Volunteers need to be available for 911 call coverage 24 hours per day, seven days per week, all year long. They ensure that when someone needs emergency care and transportation to the hospital, they quickly and reliably receive it.

In spite of the Coronavirus pandemic, five EMT students were able to complete the course and test for their licenses. Penny Kyes of LVA said, “It was a struggle for them to test during the pandemic while not talking to or touching actual people, but they stuck in there and we got it done.”
LVA’s newly trained EMTs include Wendy Chopyak, Kevin Hayworth, Rhea Crismore, Jerry Mee, and Amanda Niday. In addition, Dustin Webb, who is already an EMT, will be joining LVA, said Kyes.

The crew is now over 20 members and they will be better equipped to serve our community. The new members are happy to serve, even during these uncertain times. “I’m extremely happy that I did this,” said new member, Amanda Niday. “I know that they needed help, and I was called to do it.”

Libby Volunteer Ambulance (LVA) crew posed for a photo before their monthly meeting on June 3. Photo by Tracy McNew, The Montanian.