Plevna School Board Candidates await election

“I am interested in continuing the legacy of Plevna school,” explained Janet Stickney, a retired Plevna Public School teacher. “So that my grandchildren can have the same education as my children had.”

By Shannon Johnson

Stickney graduated high school in Box Elder, Mont. “My dad was a superintendent,” she said. Stickney’s father was the superintendent at several Class C schools, so Stickney has always been drawn to smaller schools.

After graduating high school, she went on to pursue a degree in education at Montana State University. She moved to Plevna in 1971 and married a local rancher and a Plevna school graduate, Steve Stickney. Janet and her husband called Plevna home and began their lives raising four children, Wendy, Guy, Stephanie and Doug.

Although Stickney has never been on the board, she was involved with the Plevna school system as a teacher for 45 years before retiring in 2016 and as a parent to all four of her children that attended and graduated from Plevna school.

Now that she is retired, Stickney keeps an active part of the education system by tutoring local children after school in reading. During the day she babysits her grandchildren, who will soon be entering the Plevna school system.

Stickney decided to run for the school board to do what she can to help, and she is not nervous about the results of the election. “I’m calm about them. I just would like to see the Plevna school continue to be as successful as they’ve been in the past and if I can support that by being a trustee, I am willing to do that,” she said.

Incumbent Teresa Rieger is serving the last year of her first three-year term as a school board trustee. “I just wanted to do what’s best for the kids and it’s really rewarding being a part of the positive atmosphere that Plevna school has now,” Rieger said.

Rieger graduated high school in Highwood, Mont., a town outside of Great Falls. After graduating, she moved to Billings, Mont. to attend Billings Vo-Tech for college where she would study nursing and earn a degree as an LPN. “That’s where I met John,” she noted.

Rieger moved to Plevna in 1994 and began working at the nursing home. A year later, in 1995 she and John married and started their life together, raising two girls, Taylor and Trinity.

Rieger worked at the nursing home until 2006. “In 2006 we started G&R Custom Metals,” she explained. “In 2011 we moved our shop to Plevna and started Circle R Steel and that’s what we do now.” Between running Circle R Steel, raising their girls, and staying active in the community, Rieger finds herself with little free time, but when she does, she enjoys a rural Montana lifestyle of outdoors and hunting.

Rieger would like to serve another term on the school board and help them continue building onto the legacy that is Plevna school. “There’s been some major changes that have taken place, but they’ve been positive, and I would like to see that continued,” she smiled.

“I’m still interested,” said Jason Oberlander, a Plevna resident who ran for last year’s school board trustee position. “I still want to be able to help the community and the kids.” Although Oberlander was not elected last year, he remains interested in serving his community and the families that make it up.

Oberlander grew up on a ranch north of Miles City. He graduated high school in 1999 from CCDHS and started pursuing a higher education at Miles Community College. When he and his wife Marcia married, they moved to Nebraska for several years before deciding to return to their roots.

After working as the assistant manager for Walmart, Oberlander and his family moved to Baker where he would begin a career in the oilfield with Denbury Resources as a lease operator. Oberlander and his wife found a house in Plevna. Their three sons now attend Plevna school. “I’m proud to continue the heritage of my family attending school in Plevna,” said Oberlander. He has had eleven members that have received an education from the Plevna school.

Oberlander has never served on the school board, but along with having three sons in the school system, he has coached soccer and has been an active leader in AWANAs and Kiwanas. Helping the kids in his community remains a priority for him.

A big concern Oberlander has is one that many small schools in the nation are facing. “I don’t ever want to see Plevna school close,” he said. Although he did not get elected last year, with the community pulling together for the education of their children, he is more excited this year to run than before.