I am humbled and honored to begin my tenure as superintendent of the Hill City School District! My research shows that I am just the 13th superintendent in Hill City School history and only the 6th in the past 46 years! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this opportunity. I moved here in 2006 and taught high school social studies for four years. I completed my master’s degree in educational administration in 2010 and became the elementary principal. Over the past 9 years I have served as an administrator in both the elementary and middle school. As is the case in many small schools, I have worn many hats including: Coaching football, basketball, track, class advisor, and athletic director. I have helped shovel snow at the school, wiped down tables in the cafeteria, and even filled in for the band director. Simply put, I have done many jobs in this district that I hope have prepared me to be superintendent.
I recently completed my superintendent endorsement from the University of South Dakota and interviewed in front of a distinguished 12 person hiring committee. During the interview I stated many times how much I love this school and community! My wife, Kati (Ginsbach) grew up here and graduated from Hill City. We have 4 kids (Witten, Baylor, Aspen, and Mercy). This truly is my dream job and with any luck, my own children will have an opportunity to graduate from HCHS. I am overflowing with pride in this school and community…and rightfully so.
Our school was recently named the #1 high school in South Dakota by US World & News. The average A.C.T score was the top in the state with a 25.1, our kids have a rich curriculum of advanced placement classes and can earn college credits while still in high school. Recently, students earned welding and phlebotomy certifications before they earned their high school diploma. Being a small school also offers our students the opportunity to participate in extra curricular activities. We have fantastic athletic teams and our fine arts programs are some of the best in the region. The middle school offers classes to earn high school credit, which helps students get into advanced placement and dual credit courses. At the elementary level, our teachers use the workshop model of instruction and our class sizes are optimal for student achievement.
I could go on about our school for hours, therefore if you see me around town please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and talk about our school. As superintendent, I want to be visible in our community. I have created the slogan “Climbing the H.I.L.L” (H.I.L.L. is an acronym for Hill City, Interview, Learn, and Lead). As a result, I plan on getting feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. Schools should be the nucleus of a community and I hope that is what the Hill City School District can be. I want everyone to know that my door is always open, and I want us all to work together for one common goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!MAKE TODAY YOUR MASTERPIECE! --Blake Gardner – Blake.Gardner@K12.SD.US