Incoming Columbia Falls Superintendent Drawn to ‘Small Town Feel with Big Time Opportunities’

Cory Dziowgo — currently a superintendent in southeast Wyoming — is ready to help School District 6 “continue towards that excellence”

By Denali Sagner
Columbia Falls Junior High in Columbia Falls on June 4, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Cory Dziowgo said he was “looking for that new adventure” when the opportunity to become the superintendent of Columbia Falls School District 6 fell into his lap.

Dziowgo (pronounced Jeffco) — a longtime educator and the current superintendent of the Platte County School District in southeast Wyoming — will take the helm of the Columbia Falls School District on July 1, following the retirement of current Superintendent Dave Wick. The Columbia Falls Board of Trustees on April 19 voted to approve the hiring of Dziowgo after he and another finalist for the position, Helena Flats School Superintendent Andy Maheras, visited the district and met with stakeholders.

“My 100-day plan is to not sit back and watch,” the incoming superintendent said, discussing the year that lies ahead as he joins the Columbia Falls community. “It’s to immerse, to know, roll the sleeves up, understand everything and be part of it. That’s my goal.”

Dziowgo began his educational career in 2006 as a middle and high school science teacher in South Dakota, before making the move to Wyoming in 2010 to become the athletic director and principal of Meeteetse School in Park County. Dziowgo has been with Platte County School District 1 in southeast Wyoming since 2016, where he has served as a middle school principal, interim business manager, interim superintendent and, for the past three years, superintendent.

“I got into education always knowing I wanted to get into leadership,” Dziowgo said, reflecting on his nearly two-decade long journey as an educator. “My dad was a principal of 38 years in a small town in Nebraska. I followed him as a science teacher and principal. I moved into the superintendent role at a critical time in June of 2020 to really help Platte 1 here and lead them through some tough times.”

Now, Dziowgo will serve as the top administrator in the Columbia Falls School District, which enrolls approximately 2,200 students across two elementary schools, one middle school and Columbia Falls High School, one of the Flathead Valley’s three Class A high schools.

Though Columbia Falls is more than twice the size of the district Dziowgo current oversees, the incoming superintendent said he’s ready for the challenge of leading a larger student body.

“I know 2,200 is bigger than 900. But if you’re intentional with your relationships with kids, you’ll know them, they’ll know you,” Dziowgo said.

Engagement with students, teachers and community members is a core principle of Dziowgo’s strategy as a school administrator, and is one of the values that drew him to the role at Columbia Falls. During a visit to the district earlier this month, Dziowgo said he was impressed by the connections forged between School District 6 and the larger Columbia Falls community, saying the district has “that small town feel with big time opportunities.”

“I knew I was hooked when my interview process was with 14 student leaders from high school,” Dziowgo said about his visit to the district earlier this month. “That locked me in right there. The questions they had, the perspective, their involvement, their dedication to excellence — that really, really locked me. I left that hour-and-a-half interview going, ‘Yup. This is where I want to be.’”

When asked if Dziowgo and his family are excited to move to Montana, the incoming superintendent offered a definitive, “Oh, yeah.”

Dziowgo and his wife spent their honeymoon in the Flathead Valley 20 years ago, and are, as Dziowgo said, “anxious and eager” to move to the Columbia Falls community with their three elementary-aged children.

As the 2022-23 school year nears its end, Dziowgo is ready to begin building connections in Columbia Falls, even if only virtually, for the time being. “We’re talking about how I can, not physically get up there every day, but virtually get up there every day, so the community can get to know me, staff can get to know me,” Dziowgo said. “It’s build those relationships and continue towards that

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