By Greer Schott, Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort has announced the
recipients of the second annual
Boyne Exceptional Educator Award
as Lone Peak High School and
Ophir School teachers Paul Swenson
and Dave Neal.
The award recognizes Big Sky
teachers who demonstrate dedication
to academic achievement both
within and outside of school hours
as well as measurable academic improvements.
Recipients receive Big
Sky Resort season passes.
Swenson, LPHS science and math
teacher, is recognized for his work
as a dedicated tutor and resource for
students outside of regular school
hours. Swenson’s students have
shown quantifiable improvement
after working with him.
Neal, a fifth grade teacher at Ophir,
is recognized for the second year
in a row for his before and afterschool
tutoring efforts, his innovative
classroom techniques, and the
quantifiable positive result of these
efforts. Neal led his class toward
outstanding MontCAS scores,
and 100 percent of his students
achieved proficient or above proficient
levels in math and reading.
Both Swenson and Neal embody
what Big Sky Resort and the Boyne
Exceptional Educator Committee hope
to promote at local schools. Big Sky
Resort hopes their approaches inspire
imitation and emulation.
“The goal of [the award] is to help
improve student academic performance
in the core subjects of reading,
writing, math and science,” said
Taylor Middleton, the resort’s general
manager. “By encouraging innovation
and focusing on improving student
outcomes, we’re creating incentives
for those teachers who are successful.”
For over 35 years Boyne has supported
and encouraged Ophir–and now
LPHS–students and educators, giving
the Ophir School Districts hundreds
of thousands of dollars of in-kind
and cash donations for teachers and
students, from free seasons passes
to free facilities use and much more.