Joliet Welcomes New Teachers Amid Growing Enrollment

Joliet’s New Teachers Express Excitement & Opportunity Amid Growing Enrollment as School Year Begins

Joliet, MT -  When asked what he was most looking forward to in the 2023-2024 school year, Mr. Clay Sluggett, one of five new teachers in Joliet Public Schools, responded, “It has been great meeting students and their families, and I look forward to being involved in the school and community as the year progresses.”

Sluggett, a first year teacher who grew up in central Montana on his family’s cattle ranch, joins the Joliet staff as a middle school social studies teacher. Sluggett replaces Mr. Joey Richert, who has now moved into a new role as the K-5 Principal. Sluggett joins a middle school program that has seen student enrollment grow over 8% from the 2020-2021 school year.

Enrollment overall continues to grow.  The District’s K-12 enrollment now stands at 402 students, a 5% increase from the 2020-2021 school year. High school enrollment, currently at 137, is up nearly 20% in the same time span.  The District welcomed 30 kindergarten students and also enrolled 16 students into the four-year kindergarten program, Kinder 1.

All of the District’s K-5 teachers are returning from last year, and Mrs. Brandy Mettes joins the team to meet the needs of growing enrollment. Mrs. Mettes, who taught in Red Lodge last year and grew up in Texas, is excited about meeting new students and friends in Joliet.  Mrs. Mettes will be teaching math and science to the District’s thirty-one 3rd graders.  In comparison, the District had sixteen 3rd graders during the 2022-2023 school year.      

In addition to Mr. Sluggett and Mrs. Mettes, Joliet Public Schools is welcoming three other teachers to the staff for the 2023-2024 school year. Mrs. Tammie Grewell joins the Jhawks after previously teaching at Billings Public Schools.  Mrs. Grewell, who is teaching middle school English Language Arts and coaching middle school volleyball, chose a career in education because, “Kids are just hilarious and I love to laugh! Their laughter and their kind, genuine hearts bring me hope every single day! Grewell, who grew up in Lockwood, expressed excitement about changing schools at this point in her career.  “I have always wanted to teach Junior High and now after 24 years I am finally accepting the challenge!”

Mrs. Rebecca Hill joins the Jhawk staff after previously teaching in Belfry for five years. Mrs. Hill earned her Bachelors in Mathematics Education from the University of Mary and completed a Masters degree in the same field at the University of North Dakota.  Mrs. Hill said, “I am excited to be part of a math team and work with my fellow teachers.”

Finally, Mr. John Counter returns to Joliet after teaching in Anchorage during the 2022-2023 school year.  Mr. Counter, who previously taught 5th grade math and science in Joliet, will be teaching middle and high school school science.  In addition to his classroom duties, Mr. Counter returns to his role as Co-Athletic Director, primarily responsible for game supervision. Mr. Counter said he chose to return to Joliet, “because of the students, families, and community that fully support the school.”   

Joliet’s first day of school was August 24.  Middle school and high school students went through an abbreviated schedule in the morning and enjoyed cornhole, a dunk tank, catching up with friends, and an ice cream social.  Elementary students spent their day getting to know new teachers and friends and also finished up the week with an assembly and popsicles.