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David Madison, interim counselor at SHS, arranged his desk so students could easily see him and know when he is available. Madison retired in 2014, but returned to temporarily fill the position while the district looks for a permanent replacement.

Recently, Shelby High School’s counseling office was left unexpectedly empty. Besides not having someone to conduct testing, help with college admissions or talk to students in distress, it was also the middle of the year and difficult for the district to fill a vacancy. Luckily the office lights are now back on, and students are grateful to welcome previous SHS counselor, David Madison, back to the high school. 

Madison was the high school counselor from 1980-2014 and he volunteered to fill the high school counseling position part-time in the interim, as the district looks for a permanent replacement. 

Starting Monday, Oct. 14, Madison began the new school week by introducing himself to all of the students in the high school and explaining his provisional role as a counselor. Senior Raven Olson, has known Mr. Madison for a long time, but she said that her first impression of him as a counselor was very positive.  

“He was very open, warm and friendly, and I was relieved to have a familiar face back in the office,” said Olson.

Madison told students he will arrive at school each morning at 7:30 a.m., and he would be happy for students to come and visit with him before school or during the school day when necessary.

Originally Madison went to Concordia College and earned a degree in History and Political Science, with a teaching endorsement. After he received his degree, Madison started teaching and coaching wrestling in Kellogg, Idaho. Not long after, he began working on his Master’s degree at Montana State University to be a school counselor. He explained that he made the choice between working every summer, or getting a Master’s degree and benefitting from the pay scale increase. 

After seven years of teaching in Idaho, he decided to move back to Montana in 1980.

“I wanted to be closer to family,” Madison said.  

When he found out Shelby Public Schools had a job opening he called the superintendent and started his job almost immediately. Madison was the counselor at Shelby High School for 33 years. He retired in 2014.  

Although he hasn’t been back long, Madison said it wasn’t very difficult to jump back in, “the more things change the more things stay the same,” he reminisced. 

When Madison first came to Shelby High School in 1980, grades nine through 12 had 240 students. He laughed as he explained to the current students that the halls used to be crowded and difficult for students to maneuver during the three minute passing period in comparison to the roughly 190 students we currently have in grades seven through 12.

Madison said he “feels happy and joyful to come back.” In a window of need, Madison said he wanted to help the school and community, so he offered his help to Superintendent Elliott Crump. He explained that as a college student, he devised a life mission statement: “To do the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people with the gifts that God has given me.”  

Students at Shelby High School are glad to have Mr. Madison here to help them this year. Mr. Madison’s grandson, Lucas Fretheim, who is a senior at Shelby High School, is one of the students who said he appreciates the assistance. 

“I think its super helpful, and I believe he’s great at his job,” he smiled. 

Fretheim said that he really admires his grandfather’s integrity and openness. 

“He’ll tell you straight up what he thinks,” said Fretheim. “And he is always there for you.”

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