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Billings Public Schools  Superintendent Greg Upham
Mr. Upham

Greg Upham, a Montana native, has been a professional educator for over thirty years. His career began as a teacher and coach in Browning and Belt, Montana.  He joined the Helena School District in 1992. He began his administrative career as an Assistant Principal at Capital High School, followed by six years as the Principal of Helena High School.  He recently served as the Assistant Superintendent of Helena Public Schools until July 2018, and is now serving as the Superintendent of Billings Public Schools.

Mr. Upham earned his undergraduate degree in Industrial Technology from the University of Montana Western, Dillon.  He received his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Montana, Missoula.

He is the past chair of the Montana ACT Council and also served as its past president.  He has presented both statewide and nationally on the process of data-based decision-making, the importance of ACT course patterning, and the effectiveness of Professional Learning Communities.  Greg plays an active role in the community. He has served on the Lewis and Clark Foster Care Review Board and the Wakina Learning Center Board. Greg is a member of Rotary, is on the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Club Board, has conducted Ruby Paine poverty trainings, and serves as a sports broadcaster.  He is a passionate and visible figure throughout the community.

Mr. Upham is married to Keri, and they have two children, Matt and Meghan.


Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,

Last fall at the School Board’s direction, I commissioned a formal review of the School District’s special education program.  Our objective was to take as wide a view as possible of our obligations under special education law and how we are undertaking those obligations.  We asked two experts in that field to conduct the review: Dr. Perry Zirkel and Sowmya Kumar.  The scope of the review and the biographical sketches of the reviewers are here (link).

Dr. Zirkel and Ms. Kumar’s report can be read here (link).  The report is going to be extremely helpful in assisting us to reinforce what we do well and to improve areas needing attention.  For example, the number of formal complaints filed against the School District are fewer than what Dr. Zirkel would expect to see in a School District our size; however, he recommended a few changes to our policies, which the School Board will be asked to review this spring.  The reviewers also found that the customer service approach of our special education department needs improvement; we will work to improve that part of our work, as well as implement other recommendation presented by Dr. Zirkel and Ms. Kumar.

The reviewers concluded:

Billings Public Schools is a respected school district with strong, student-centered leadership; competent, knowledgeable, energetic, passionate, caring, and hard-working staff; and committed parents and community members who are invested in supporting the District and its students. By thoughtfully and mindfully addressing the needs of students with disabilities, the District can not only continue to maintain compliance with state and federal requirements but also achieve sustainable student success for years to come.

This report contains many recommendations for the District to consider in improving its special education program. District leaders may want to share the report with all stakeholders—parents, teachers, administrators, Board of Trustees, and community members for their review. With their input, the District may then want to develop a continuous improvement plan that prioritizes these recommendations for immediate and future implementation.

I look forward to continuing our work to improve our special education program because the bottom line is our students deserve the best education we can provide.  This report will help us in that effort.

Billings Public Schools Review of Special Education


Superintendent Upham