Welcoming Back Jamie McGraw


Photo by Grace Carr

Grace Carr and Kaylebb Stahmer

Every person has a background and a story to tell. For Jamie McGraw, it’s one that involves Crohn’s disease, three kids, a dog that graduated from high school, and a career of 22 years working within the Great Falls Public School District. Her latest job has landed her an office here at CMR as an associate principal.  

McGraw’s first 15 years of her career were here at CMR teaching junior and senior English. She left when there was an opening at the District Office six years ago to oversee career technical education and grant money in the district. To expand her credentials, she earned her administrative degree and a superintendent certificate. Afterwards, she made the quick decision to become an associate principal at North Middle School for more than two years before coming back to CMR. 

“I miss teaching English,” she said. “I was worried going into administration, but I would have come back to teaching if it didn’t work out.”

Some of her roles as an associate principal include overseeing attendance, 504’s, testing, Homecoming, graduation, and discipline for students with the last name A-G.

Now that she’s become more involved in administration, McGraw said she realized the biggest difference between her position and being a teacher is the information she can share and be aware of. 

“As an administrator you get more info you can’t share, and you’re asking people to trust you even though you can’t share that info,” she said. 

From a teacher’s perspective, McGraw said she really only saw a kid from one-dimension, the classroom — an environment in which she interacted with a student for 50 minutes a day. Now that she has the broader perspective of an administrator, realizing what she can do for a student in need and only being able to do so much has been hard.

“[My biggest challenge] is things you can’t control. I do everything I can do, but sometimes it’s still not enough, and that doesn’t feel good,” she said.

For McGraw, transitioning from North Middle School back to CMR is something she says she considers good timing due to health-related reasons. McGraw has Crohn’s disease, which caused her to transfer later than scheduled due to surgery-related recovery issues. 

Despite these health concerns, she is excited to return to the CMR environment with her former co-workers.

“Honestly, it feels like coming home to me.”