Boettcher named SD1 teacher of the year 

Ryan Boettcher has been teaching math for 17 years, 12 of those years at Rocky Mountain High School. His commitment to his students and to his school district was acknowledged this year when he was named “teacher of the year” for Big Horn County School District No. 1.He currently teaches math students in grades nine through 12, including some of the more advanced math subjects like geometry and algebra. He also teaches two adjunct classes in college level algebra and trigonometry on the Rocky campus for Northwest College.Boettcher completed his undergraduate work in math education and earned his master’s degree in administration at Dickinson State University.“When I first went to college, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do,” explained Boettcher. “I went to school on a football scholarship. I wanted to stay in athletics, maybe coach. I already had a background in mathematics, so teaching is kind of something I just fell into. I really didn’t set out to do this.”Boettcher said the math and science teachers he had in high school inspired him, even more so when he became a teacher.“I had really good math and science teachers in high school,” he said. “Once I headed this direction, they were the ones I patterned after. Those were the biggest influences in my career.  You pick up stuff from everybody along the way, but you teach how you were taught.”[caption id="attachment_10655" align="alignright" width="200"]Ryan Boettcher Ryan Boettcher[/caption]Rocky Mountain High School Principal Tim Winland nominated Boettcher for the honor.“His number one priority, of course, is teaching the math curriculum to the students of Rocky Mountain High School,” wrote Winland in his letter of nomination. “In the classroom, I have observed Ryan demonstrate effective classroom practices while utilizing data to guide instruction.“Ryan is very dedicated in using assessments and feedback to guide and direct his students toward success.  He has experience in implementing several forms of assessments (MAP, PAWS, ACT preparation) and classroom/district assessments.“His classroom management and teaching style is such that it promotes a rigorous atmosphere with high expectations and student accountability. I have appreciated Ryan’s efforts throughout the years to improve student achievement through a structured and viable curriculum.  Standardized test scores have been on the rise in math, which is attributed to Ryan’s teaching.”Boettcher has shown leadership in a number of capacities in the district and among his peers throughout the state.“Ryan has served as the building north central accreditation chairperson,” added Winland.  “His responsibilities included overseeing the school improvement process and accreditation. His experience as an administrator provides understanding as to the importance of school improvement.“Ryan has recently pioneered the Northwest Math Teachers Association, in which teachers meet once a semester to discuss best practices.  I rely heavily on Ryan’s abilities to research interventions to be used across the curriculum, especially in math where Ryan serves as the chairperson on the AdvancEd Math committee.”Boettcher, who spent a year as principal of a school in Montana, said he enjoys interacting with other teachers and taking on additional responsibilities that lead to improvement of the district as a whole.“I’m very lucky to work with some great teachers, and I enjoy talking education with them as much as anything,” he said.Still, his greatest reward is seeing his students succeed.“One of the biggest rewards is to see my students succeed,” he said. “It’s especially rewarding when they come back and tell me they got themselves a great job or went off to a tech school or graduated college,” said Boettcher. “I’m here to teach math but I’m also here to get them started on life and to teach them how to work hard and how to see something through. I try to mesh those kinds of life skills into my math curriculum. So, to have someone come back and tell me they learned something in my class that was worthwhile is always nice to hear.”

By Patti Carpenter