It wasn’t meant to be a 'parting gift', but retiring Hellgate Elementary School Superintendent Dr. Doug Reisig was recently honored with the G.V. Erickson Award from the School Administrators of Montana.

KGVO spoke to Reisig just after he received the award.

“It's a very humbling recognition for me by the School Administrators of Montana to receive for a second time the G.V. Erickson Award,” said Reisig. “According to the School Administrators of Montana to be recognized by your colleagues is the highest recognition the organization can give to a superintendent for service during the past school year to promote the health, welfare and safety of kids and staff and service to public education in Montana.”

Reisig oversaw a massive expansion program over the last decade, but said the last two years with COVID 19 have been the most challenging.

“The last two years with the COVID thing has really been difficult, and I just have to give all the credit to our school board, administrators our teachers, parents, and of course our students,” he said. “They wanted to be in school and they've done what they needed to do in order to be in school. And again, we were one of the one of the schools that never shut down during the COVID experience. We're still not shut down right now, and we hope to make it through this school year.”

Reisig looked back at his long tenure at Hellgate Elementary.

“I got the job in 2000 and our enrollment has increased over 33% since that time,” he said. “We’ve had a number of building projects to try to address that and stay ahead of the curve, but that increased enrollment has put pressure on our school district to maintain our small school feel, our rural school feel that is so vital to Hellgate Elementary and has been such a hallmark of our school district to being a child centered school district, where our kids come in as kindergarteners, then stay to the eighth grade, and we try to make sure they feel this is their home.”

Reisig was asked what he would miss most after finally leaving the school district.

“I've been doing this thing for 46 years as a teacher, a building administrator and the last 34 years as a superintendent,” he said. “I think the relationships you build with people are the toughest things to replace, because once you leave, you're not getting back in, and for the most part and you’ve still got to try to find ways, and I know that I will still try to find ways to stay connected to public education in Montana, and continue to give back to the public education system that has been so gracious to me over the years.”

A press release announcing his award also stated: ‘Recognizing that many students in his school district live in poverty and who would suffer due to the toll of COVID-19, he (Reisig) donated his salary increase to start the Family Resource Fund.  This fund has been used to alleviate some of the hardship families in the district have faced due to the pandemic.  His generosity has spurred others to donate and the fund has financially benefited numerous Hellgate Elementary students and their families.’


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