Neighborhood NewsIndian Country


Heart Butte principal resigns amid district’s financial struggles

Sandi Campbell.png
Posted at 3:12 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 11:34:13-05

HEART BUTTE — When the Heart Butte school board announced they were reducing the school’s work force by 30, emotions ran high.

Among those impacted was school principal Sandi Campbell, who submitted her resignation citing a lack of inclusion as an administrator.

“I'm just having to deal with everything and the ripples are rippling back to me to have to solve,” said Campbell. “There's nothing else more to solve. I can't find solutions.”

As a dedicated educator, Campbell will spend her remaining time on the job filling in for a kindergarten teacher on maternity leave. She’ll try to figure out how classes with sick teachers and no available substitutes and no teacher assistants will continue. And she’ll try to ease the burden for just two cooks tasked with feeding almost 200 kids.

It’s an overwhelming job considering the grief and trauma the district has been feeling.

“We talk about we have to take care of ourselves as adults before we can take care of our kids that have nowhere to go find,” said Campbell. “A lot of the people that were let go were my former students. I announced their graduation to go across that stage and for them to come to me and ask why? Who's going to put their heart is here. They know they want to be here for the kids.”

Of the 30 people let go, 12 were teacher assistants. While that number may seem high for a small school, those who feel the most effects are not underestimating the importance.

Heart Butte School votes to eliminate 30 positions

“Last week and we barely even had teachers in the high school and some are out sick or some are still on vacation leave. Mostly what we had what we had in the high school and was just TA’s (teacher assistants). TA’s, they actually do have a big impact on the school,” said Heart Butte Senior Jodee Cree Medicine.

“The TA’s listen to our kids to know how they're feeling and if they're having a bad day, if they're having a good day, they’re here to lift us up,” said Heart Butte Junior Trentin Aimsback. “And they're taking that away from our children. The kids who get pushed by the TA’s to actually get to class.”

“I feel for the families and I just hope that one day our school will be back to normal again,” said Heart Butte Senior Neveah Calf Boss Ribs.

Campbell submitted her resignation Friday. It’s effective January 19th.

And while she’s planning her next move, her departure marks the end of an era for an educator known for putting students first.

"I'm done with education, this broke me, this really broke me,” said Campbell. “When you don't have the support of this breaks you.”