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By Pierre Bibbs

Malta Public Schools Welcomes Norby as New Activities Director


August 23, 2023

New Malta Activities Director Jake Norby and his wife Sophie Norby. Courtesy Photo.

Malta Public Schools has hired Jake Norby as their new Activities Director for Malta High School and Malta Middle School.

"It really is like a dream job to me," Norby told the PCN. "I always saw myself as an A.D. I didn't know at what point I would get there."

Norby, who will also serve as a Physical Education teacher and the MHS Strength and Conditioning Coach, was born in Kalispell to Scott and Kristi Norby, and raised in Chinook after his family moved to Sugarbeeter country during his third grade school year.

Most recently, Norby worked in the Cut Bank School District as the Health and Physical Education Teacher.

He replaces longtime Strength and Conditioning Coach Patrick Sargent, who worked at Malta High School for 30 years. He also replaces Desiree Egger who was the MHS and MMS Activities Director in the 2022-23 year.

At Chinook High School, Norby thrived as a student athlete in wrestling, football, and golf.

"I have been extremely active in sports and participated in sports and my whole life has revolved around sports," Norby said. "I had some really good experiences along the way. Chinook had saw quite a bit of success while I was going through."

He said that he looked up to the upperclassmen at CHS and he admired the culture that was there.

"I dedicated everything that I had to it and it paid off," Norby said. "We had quite a bit of success. We won three state championships (two in wrestling and one in 8-Man Football)."

In wrestling, Norby was a two-time All-State selection during his junior and senior seasons. Individually, he placed fourth in the 145 class at the State B/C Tournament in his junior season, and third in the 152 class at state in his senior year.

As a team, led by Head Coach Perry Miller, the Chinook Wrestling team was second at state in Class C in 2013 and 2014 and first in Class C in 2015 and 2016.

In 8-man football, the Sugarbeeters finished second during Norby's junior year, losing the state championship to Wibaux 46-14 in 2014. His team was able to bounce back the next year to go undefeated and win the 2015 State C 8-Man Title by defeating Arlee 44-20. Norby earned All-State honors.

"That was one of the best days of my life, besides my wedding day of course," Norby said.

A couple of weeks before moving into his office at Malta Public Schools, Norby married Sophie (King) on July 8.

After graduating from high school, Norby followed in his father's footsteps by playing collegiate football for Montana State University-Northern in Havre. His father played for the University of Montana Western. His older sister Taryn Norby played basketball at MSU-Northern.

"We are just a big sports family," Norby said, noting that he is a Minnesota Vikings fan.

He played for MSU-Northern for four years as a linebacker, red-shirting his first season to become better acquainted with 11-man football.

"That gap from 8-Man football to 11-Man football was quite the learning curve for me," Norby said. "I was a very skinny guy, so I had to beef up."

After his red-shirt season, Norby broke the starting lineup and was named a starter for all three of his playing years.

After his junior year in college, Norby decided to go professional rather than play his senior season. He signed to play football overseas for the Cottbus Crayfish in Germany in February of 2020.

Shortly after, the world was rocked by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

"I flew in that March and then the whole country shut down in March," Norby said. "So when I got over there, the season was postponed and then eventually canceled. So, I was only there for two months, never played in a game and was just working out."

The team sent Norby back to the US in June due to the cancellation.

Upon returning, he got in contact with some friends at Missoula-Hellgate that he met during his time at MSU-Northern. He became an Assistant Coach for Hellgate High School in 2020. It was during his time living in Missoula that he met his new bride Sophie.

"She was in the nursing program over there," he said. "She lived in Bozeman and I lived in Missoula. We kind of did the long-distance thing a little bit."

Having family down south, Sophie moved to work in Georgia for eight months. The couple got engaged last August and as previously mentioned, married on July 8.

Sophie will be here in early September.

He was hired at Cut Bank after earning his Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education (K-12) from MSU-Northern in 2021.

He was paid to student-teach during his first year at Cut Bank. He was the Middle School P.E. and Middle School Weights teacher. He also coached running backs and linebackers for Cut Bank High School. In his second year, last season, he was the defensive coordinator and play-caller. The team made the playoffs.

"I really enjoyed my time at Cut Bank," Norby said. "They were really welcoming to me, but coming into this summer, I wanted to grow. I wanted to keep doing some good things for myself, really. That lead me to this opportunity."

He was contacted by Malta Elementary School Principal Zach Handley, who had mutual friends with Norby.

After a couple of conversations, Norby applied for the job at Malta Public Schools.

He arrived at Malta High School for his first day of work on July 26. He attended the School Board Meeting that day.

"It is a beautiful school," Norby said. "I love the school so far. The gym is amazing. The weight room that I will be teaching in, is a beautiful weight room."

Though he hasn't met all of the educators and staff at Malta Public Schools, he said that everyone he has met has been more than welcoming to him.

"Scott King as well," Norby said. "He has been mentoring me. Showing me the ropes because I know that there has been a lot of turnover in this position."

Norby said that he and Sophie plan on being in Malta for many years.

"Everybody has been extremely supportive, welcoming me with open arms," Norby said. "That is exactly why I love rural, small-town Montana."

Norby was able to be a part of the decision-making process for allowing Malta Middle School Eighth Graders to compete in high school sports.

Norby believes that the state is about 50 percent for the new eighth-grade rule and 50 percent against. But he realizes that schools across Class A and C have been going through the change.

"For me, I am for it," he said. "During the board meeting, I stood up and said my piece."

He said that MHS Principal Shawn Bleth was extremely helpful in the process. Mr. Bleth and Mr. Norby presented the school's rules for allowing eighth graders to participate in high school sports and the MPS School Board voted 5-0 in approval.

"My belief is that all kids deserve opportunities and if there is a rule that allows an eighth grader to play varsity sports, JV sports, C-Squad, all the way through, I am not going to be the person that holds a kid back from being able to chase their dream. I would've loved as an eighth grader to be presented that opportunity. So that is something that I think about as well."

He likes the fact that it allows smaller schools to fill out a roster. He also noted that Havre and Lockwood, both Class A schools with larger census' than Malta are allowing eighth graders to compete.


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