A Blessing for Big Sky

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In addition to the many other perks for educators and students of the Big Sky School District, Big Sky Resort is proud to offer an additional award (complete with season's ski pass) to educators who go above and beyond what is expected of them in innovative ways. This year, the winner of this award is Andrew Blessing, Technology Director.

Andrew Blessing's job description as the technology director doesn't require any interaction with students-just computers. But for Blessing-previously accustomed to the more high stress corporate world of technology-the ability to work with students in his new position was " the perk of working here versus working somewhere else." And so, in his past three years on the job, Blessing has expanded his work in the district to include what he calls, "the fun stuff." It was that decision-to start the tech club, to join the jazz band, and to take on a student intern-that earned Blessing the new Boyne Innovation and Excellence in Education award.

Blessing, who calls his job in the district, " a whole new adventure," says his self-appointed tasks and clubs give his work day new meaning. "Here, it isn't just wake up and repeat. We just have a great time. In between playing my trumpet with the jazz band or building robots, I do these sprints of hard work."

Last year's innovation award winner, John Zirkle, works with Blessing often on technology in the theater and elsewhere, as well as playing in the jazz band alongside the University of Massachusetts Alum. Zirkle says along with all of his other attributes, Blessing "has the most infectious positivity that anybody could ever hope for."

In addition to the special innovation award, Big Sky has also offered teachers the opportunity to apply for the Boyne Excellence in Education Award, which gives season ski passes to all teachers in the district who offer extra teaching hours outside of the school day which result in demonstrable education gains. "Our way of incentivizing teachers with something that really matters in our community," says Barb Rooney, Chair of the Committee. Additionally, the resort company provides season passes for all students in the district K-8, passes for teachers on ski days, half-price rentals and ski lessons, and less-expensive frequency cards, among other gifts and donations.

"Big Sky Resort and the Big Sky School District have ‘grown up' together," says Rooney, Senior Vice President for Accommodations. "Our mountain and our kids are the treasures of our community."