County school boards welcome new trustees

Twin Bridges and Ennis schools are welcoming new faces to their school boards. Jaret Laurence was elected by acclamation in Ennis—meaning the issue did not go to ballot because Laurence was running opposed—and Gary Konen was elected to the Twin Bridges School Board.

The newly elected representatives to other boards around the county were incumbent candidates.

Laurence, a Montana State University (MSU) graduate, moved to Ennis in 2002 for a job at the Madison Valley Medical Center (MVMC). Laurence is currently the director of revenue and finance at the MVMC.

“I like the community and I love working here,” Laurence said, explaining why he chose to stay in Ennis.

Laurence said he chose to get involved in the school board because he has a daughter joining the system as a kindergartener next year and another child who will begin school in two more years.

“I want to be involved in [their] education,” he said. “I want to make it the best possible environment for learning and growth.”

Though Laurence is not on the MVMC board, he works closely with the trustees during their monthly meetings and said he is familiar with the processes involved in serving on a board.

He added he is not approaching his work as a trustee with an agenda to push.

“I want to do what’s best for the kids and what’s fiscally responsible,” he explained.

In Twin Bridges, Konen said making the decision to run for the school board was straightforward—he has four children currently in the school system and a daughter that graduated from Twin Bridges last year.

“I’ve always been active with my kids in everything they do,” Konen explained. “Playing an active role in their education is very important.”

Konen moved to the Twin Bridges area four years ago, but he has been a resident of Southwest Montana his entire life. Born and raised in Butte, Konen attended college in Helena and Dillon before working in Cameron, Whitehall and Three Forks.

“What drew us from Whitehall to Twin [Bridges] is the school itself,” he said. “It has a good reputation and I wanted my kids to experience that.”

Konen served as a trustee on the Whitehall School Board before his family moved to Twin Bridges and said that experience gave him a familiarity with how school boards operate. He said he is interested in looking into whether or not the school could offer college prep courses, or classes students could receive college credit for passing in high school.

“Twin [Bridges] has a good school, school system and administration,” he said. “I want to keep it going down the right path.”

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