By Maria Wyllie
Explore Big Sky Associate Editor
BIG SKY – Big Sky School District Superintendent Jerry House announced his resignation, effective by July 15, at the March 19 school board meeting.
“After 44 years of being an educator, it’s time to go spend some time with my wife,” said House, 71. “It’s time to move on.”
Matt Jennings, who’s served as a school board trustee for three years, says House has been monumental in bringing the school district up to speed.
“He’s been a great leader for us, and it’s going to be hard to see him go,” Jennings said.
House left Ranger, Wash., after the 1999-2000 school year before moving to Whitefish where he worked for a decade as Whitefish School District Superintendent. A few days after retiring from his job there, the BSSD Board of Trustees asked House to interview for the superintendent position, contracted for one year.
However, after spending the 2011-2012 school year with students at Ophir Elementary School and Lone Peak High School, House wasn’t ready to leave.
“It was a matter of building a foundation for this school and the staff,” House said. “We have high expectations for academics and social behavior, and [we have] great support from the community, so I was excited to stay here.”
Although his tenure was longer than expected, it was relatively short for a school superintendent. But in that time House helped start a number of traditions including homecoming, prom, parades and Spirit Week.
“His contributions have been immeasurable as far as moving our school forward with different programs, curriculums, and keeping our staff motivated and pushing them to the next level,” Jennings said.
Tom Yahraes, who began working as assistant superintendent for the 2014-2015 school year is currently being groomed to take over as superintendent, House says, providing his credentials are in place by the start of the school’s new fiscal year in August.
Yahraes’s promotion is based on board approval and will be voted on at the May school board meeting when House plans on making the recommendation. House and the board have been working together on plans for the transition.
Following the resignation, House says he and his wife Deborah are looking forward to reconnecting as a couple. They are returning to their home in Whitefish, which sits on the Whitefish Golf Course – ideal for House, who is an avid golfer.
But Whitefish won’t be their final stop, he says.
“What we’re looking forward to is mobility,” House said. “[We’re] going to travel and do things that we haven’t done because of jobs and kids.”
First on the list is a trip to Tuscany, Italy.