New Staff Profile: Mrs. Crystal Courtney (Para)

Ciashe Vang, Intro to Journalism

Sun Journal: Let’s get right into the questions! What grade level do you teach?

Mrs. Courtney: I teach grades nine, ten, eleven. But my core classes are grade ten and eleven.

Sun Journal: Have you always taught those grades?

Mrs. Courtney: Actually, no. I’ve taught all the way from pre-kindergarten to grade twelve.

Sun Journal: Wow, that’s very cool! I have a few more questions. What do you like about Big Sky?

Mrs. Courtney: One of the things I really love about the school is the community. The students and the staff really support each other. And one thing I really love about my job is that we get a lot of support from the administration. Another thing that I find really interesting is seeing the kids be really supportive of their peers. I’ve taught at many different school and the bullying here is not as much as the other schools I’ve been at.

Sun Journal: What other schools have you taught at?

Mrs. Courtney: I’ve taught at Woodman Middle School in Helena and at Hawthorne. I was also an inclusion specialist for ten years which means I went into schools and taught teachers how to include students with special needs and learning disabilities in a regular curriculum class. I was really at every middle school and high school in Helena.

Sun Journal: Wow! That’s very cool. And would you change anything about Big Sky?

Mrs. Courtney: I would really appreciate more staff members. Our classes are too big. It is great to have ninety minute classes so I can help my students but I’m a general education teacher. I have twenty or more students each class period and I would like to give one on one time with each student but it’s not possible.

Sun Journal: I agree as well. Did someone or something inspire you to become a teacher?

Mrs. Courtney: A couple of things inspired me to become a teacher. When I was in eighth grade I got to be a teacher’s assistant. I really enjoyed being with those kids. And when I was in high school I didn’t have supportive teachers. I knew what I needed I just had no place to reach it. I also have a daughter with a learning disability so being able to teach students really inspires me.

Sun Journal: Wow, that’s very nice of you. Another question, what college degree did you get?

Mrs. Courtney: I have a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, a bachelor’s degree in special education and I have a masters in business and administration.

Sun Journal: Wow, that’s a lot of degrees! How long did it take you to get all those degrees?

Mrs. Courtney: I was able to earn my interdisciplinary and special education degrees in three years. I went back and did my masters which took about thirteen months. It took a lot of dedication and the right college. In general, it’s a really long process but it’s worth it.

Sun Journal: I find that very cool. Did you grow up in Montana?

Mrs. Courtney: Yes I did. I grew up in Helena and lived there for thirty five years and I’ve lived in Montana for ten.

Sun Journal: Do you like to do anything after school or on the weekends?

Mrs. Courtney: Well after school I tutor college students and I really enjoy that. But besides work-related things, I really like to be outdoors. I love paddle boarding, snowmobiling, fishing, camping and hiking with my family and my dogs. It’s really just that cliche Montana lifestyle. I also really like to read.