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Education

Public Invited to Meet Kalispell Superintendent Candidates

Students, parents, teachers and community members can meet Matt Jensen, Kimberly Fricker and Joseph Libby on Feb. 5 at Flathead High School

By Denali Sagner
The entrance to the Kalispell Public Schools office in downtown Kalispell on Sept. 27, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Kalispell community members on Feb. 5 will have the opportunity to speak with three candidates for Kalispell Public Schools superintendent. 

The public is invited to meet Matt Jensen, Kimberly Fricker and Joseph Libby on Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Flathead High School Flex Room. At the event, community stakeholders will be encouraged to engage with the three candidates and ask questions to help better inform the Kalispell School Board as they select a new superintendent. Trustees will not be present at the event in order to give the public a unique opportunity to connect with the applicants. 

The Kalispell School Board on Jan. 23 voted to interview four candidates for the superintendent position, which is currently held by interim Superintendent Randy Cline. Three of the four candidates accepted invitations for in-person interviews and site visits in Kalispell. Tom Myer, superintendent of the Bellevue Community School District in Iowa, dropped out of the superintendent search after receiving interviews with other school districts.  

Matt Jensen is the current assistant superintendent of the Kalispell Public Schools. Prior to coming to Kalispell, Jensen served as the superintendent of the Bigfork School District for seven years. Jensen is a 1999 graduate of Flathead High School who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana, a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Phoenix and a superintendent endorsement from the University of Montana. Prior to his career as a superintendent, Jensen taught history, government and economics in the Bigfork schools and served as the elementary and middle school principal and high school principal in Bigfork.

Kimberly Fricker is a California-based educator who was previously the superintendent of the Rim of the World Unified School District in San Bernardino County, Calif. Fricker served as the district’s superintendent for one year before resigning last fall. Fricker was the assistant superintendent and executive director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, a high school principal in the Orange Unified School District and an assistant principal in the Huntington Beach Union High School District. She was also a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California and an associate professor of educational law at California State University – Long Beach. Fricker holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University, a master’s of counseling from Wayne State University and a doctorate of education from the University of Southern California.

Joseph Libby is the superintendent of the Sibley East Public Schools in south central Minnesota. Prior to becoming superintendent in 2021, Libby served as the executive director of the West Des Moines Community Schools in Iowa. His tenure in education has included roles as a principal, assistant principal, program administrator and science teacher in a number of schools in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota and Texas. Libby holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and coaching from Iowa State University, a master’s in education from St. Cloud State University and a doctorate of education from Saint Mary’s University in St. Paul, Minn.

Following the community event, the trustees on Feb. 6 will conduct site visits and individual interviews with the candidates. The interviews will be open to the public. The board will deliberate immediately following interviews.

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