Member Spotlight: Jason Murgel
Helena High School
22 years in the Helena School District 10 as a social studies teacher and 12 as a school counselor
Where you attended graduate school:
University of Montana
Share a little more about you: Where you are from? Hobbies/Interests?
I was born and raised in East Helena, MT and graduated from Helena High School in 1993.
Throughout my childhood I was involved in numerous activities including baseball, football,
track and basketball. I earned my bachelor’s degree from the Montana Western in education
(social science broadfield and history minor). I met wife while attending Montana Western and
We have been married for 21 years and have two wonderful boys, Connor 21, and Cael 16. I
coached basketball at Helena High for the past 22 years and girls softball for the past 10 years.
I have also coached football and golf at Helena High. In my spare time, I love to hike, fly fish,
hunt, camp, and spend time with my family.
What compelled you to be a school counselor or led you to where you are today?
I originally started my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, but while taking a
school counseling course as a part of the program, I became very interested in becoming a
school counselor and switched to the school counseling co-hort from the University of
Montana. I have had so many educators in my life that have helped shaped me into who I am
today, I felt like becoming a school counselor would be a way to pay it forward and make a
Favorite aspect of your job?
As a former athlete and coach, I love the team aspect of my job. I work with wonderful people
people in my counseling department who take care of each other and support one another.
We are truly a family. I would not be able to do this job without my colleagues, Jaime Pandis,
Ellaina Staldine, Chrissy Murgel, Corena hall and Abby Rausch. I love building and fostering
relationships with my students and watching them succeed in things they never thought
would be possible. I have an outstanding administrative team, Mr. Steve Thennis, Mr. Wille
Schlepp, and Mrs. Stephanie Thennis who are supportive and allow the counseling team at
Helena High the flexibility to do our job in the best interest of students and families.
Particularly memorable program, intervention, group, lesson you’ve implemented that you believe made an impact with your students/staff?
As the dual credit coordinator at Helena High I am very proud of the partnership Helena High has with Helena College to allow students the opportunity to earn up to 30+ college credits by the time a student graduates. The sense of accomplishment and confidence students have when they leave Helena High to be a successful college student is astounding. I am also very proud of the mental health/suicide prevention awareness program the Helena High counseling department has created and established. The subject matter is a very difficult one to discuss with students and families but one that is very important for people to understand is that is it “okay to not be okay” and talking about it is the key to prevention.
Favorite part of the spring/fall conference?
The spring/fall conference is a great opportunity to see former classmates and to catch up and see and discuss all the great things school counselors are doing in the great state of Montana. I love being able to collaborate and learn from all the wonderful and compassionate counselors school districts from across this state. The depth and knowledge of counselors in the state of Montana is a reason why I strive to be a better school counselor.
Memorable moment in your career?
Being nominated as a four time distinguished educator by the Helena Education Foundation by students has been very memorable for me. Knowing that I have had that kind of impact on a student’s life is a very humbling experience.