Crow journalist-turned-teacher works to expand tribal, high school news

Journalism and podcasting instructor Luella Brien works with Angelina Toineeta and James Brown at Lodge Grass High School.

LARRY MAYER, Billings Gazette

Luella Brien initially wanted to be a school teacher, but never thought she’d be one after taking a different career path. Shortly after graduating high school, she pivoted from education to pursue journalism.

Now those paths have converged in her new position as the journalism teacher at Lodge Grass High School.

No one was more surprised by the career change than Brien, who was offered the job weeks before the new school year by her predecessor Ben Cloud during a summer audio reporting workshop with students.

“Towards the end of the camp he just sort of says to me, ‘By the way, I’m retiring. Do you want to teach next year?’” she said with a laugh.

Juggling time between working as the tour manager for the Crow Tribe and editor for the online news company Four Point Media, she was initially hesitant to take the position. But, she ultimately accepted it, realizing the opportunity to expand local journalism with her students.

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