Faces in the Crowd: Blake Gardner
The South Dakota School Superintendent Association Executive Board recently announced their 2020 Superintendent Awards and on that list was a Blake Gardner of the Hill City School District as the Rookie of the Year.
HILL CITY, S.D. — Blake Gardner was inspired by his teachers growing up to get into the teaching profession. After teaching for 4 years in Hill City, he served as principal for 9 years and this past year as Superintendent of the Hill City School District.
He said it was a natural progression to become superintendent, becoming a jack of all trades.
Blake says, “I’ve even served lunch when they needed me to, I’ve directed the band when I’ve had to, just different roles – in a small school you wear so many hats.”
Blake says he is the best version of himself when he is on the pulse of the kids, saying, “I try to, in the morning, be in one of the buildings so I can greet the kids as they come in. I still try to do football on the playground with the elementary kids, and I poke my head in the classroom at least twice a week.”
Blake grew up in Winner and has a soft spot for the smaller, tight knit communities.
“My favorite thing about being a Superintendent is, we have 455 kids and I know everyone of them by name and I know what they like and I know most of their parents and so it’s really neat to be a part to a small community, ” says Blake.
He considers Hill City his home and this recent recognition is a reflection of the great people he works with and the awesome school district.
“I love just engaging our community, I mean we are a really neat school and a really neat community so- like I said ,its home to me and I love this place.”
Blake says he found out about this award at the May school board meeting. He was shocked and humbled for the recognition, saying he was in great company among the other 150 superintendents in the state.
Due to COVID-19, the annual Superintendent Convention and Awards Luncheon has been postponed from July 2020 to December 2020.