MISSOULA — A look through the Montana High School Association’s Twitter account doesn’t show any mention of postseason tournaments or state champions from this past spring.
The lack of a social media presence is something the MHSA is working to correct. To do that, the MHSA has created a new position and has hired Arlee athletic director Amy Bartels to fill the dual role as the coordinator of social media and the Montana Officials Association.
“It’s pretty exciting for us moving in that direction,” said MHSA executive director Mark Beckman. “We’re looking at expanding our presence on social media and using social media in a positive way to share the stories that are out there with our — starting next year — 181 member schools that’ll be involved in school athletics programs.”
In the social media portion of the job, Bartels will be helping the MHSA establish a consistent, engaging and timely presence. That includes disseminating news and providing live looks at state tournaments, among other things.
In that role, Bartels will work to display her social media acumen, as well as the creativity she used as a K-2 art teacher and K-4 music teacher at Arlee.
“Social media’s a fun area that I didn’t get to do a lot at Arlee,” Bartels said. “It’s a very visual position and you get to work with a wide variety of people and be out in the community with people at events.”
The MHSA's focus early on will be around Twitter and Facebook. Adventures into Instagram, Snapchat or other social media platforms could potentially come down the road.
“We’re entering the field really with Twitter and Facebook, and we really needed someone to work in that area to get us up to date,” Beckman said, later adding, “We’re very fortunate we can get Amy, who has the experience with the officials and the understanding but also that energy and excitement about the social media piece.”
In the other part of the job, Bartels will be coordinating the 1,600-plus officials for MHSA sports. That includes, among other things, registering officials, tracking their ratings, overseeing testing, and doing various bookkeeping and record keeping.
Bartels is also hoping to increase the numbers of officials in the state.
She had some experience working with officials and running tournaments at Arlee. It was a job that she called “a great stepping stone” after getting her bachelor’s degree at Montana and her master’s at Gonzaga.
“I always wanted to be in an administrator role,” Bartels said. “With the MHSA being the state association, that was always of interest to me to work with the people involved and learn from the vast knowledge they have. I think there’s fun things ahead in my career.”
Bartels, a Great Falls CMR grad, started in the Helena-based position on July 1, replacing a temp who had filled the MOA coordinator position. She had spent the past three school years at Arlee, resigned effective June 6 and said Arlee has hired Lonnie Morin, who had been the district clerk, as its next AD.
“I’m excited to be in the community, work with the people at the MHSA, the officials, the community and the ADs,” Bartels said. “The overall package is a really excellent opportunity for me.”