As Montana Teachers of the Year, our lifework has been dedicated to engaging Montana students in learning experiences that prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the future — as individuals at home, work, service, and play and as members of local, state, national, and international communities pursuing the common good.
We proudly reflect the good work that some 10,000 Montana teachers do every day and every year.
Collectively, the 21 of us have over 500 years of teaching experience. We’ve taught at the elementary, middle, high school, college, and graduate school levels in Montana. We teach English, math, language arts, social studies, science, and other subjects, but mainly we teach kids.
Our experience has taught us that Montana’s students are best served when:
· The expectations of the state are expressed in relevant and rigorous standards.
· Local communities, relying on local teachers’ professional expertise, map out a sequence of courses and course curricula that meet those standards within the context of community values.
· Classroom teachers have the latitude to design learning experiences that challenge, excite, and intrigue students as teachers deliver the community-approved curriculum aligned with state-approved standards.
· In our classrooms, schools, and communities, all students feel respected for who they are and are encouraged to explore what they could be.
Standards in all professions change over time. As individual professionals, we have watched Montana’s Board of Public Education adopt new accreditation standards throughout our careers. We have watched the development of Montana’s Common Core Standards for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. We have never connected with one another to weigh in on them collectively. We do so now to say this: We support Montana’s Common Core Standards.
· Montana’s Common Core Standards are more rigorous, more specific, and more comprehensive than the standards they replace.
· Montana’s Common Core Standards prepare students to make smooth transitions into colleges, careers, and citizenship.
· Montana’s Common Core Standards help kids who move out of Montana or kids who move into Montana enter their new school with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to stay at grade level.
· Montana’s Common Core Standards honor Montana’s long-held tradition of local control of our public schools, as well as our constitutional and statutory obligations to understand, recognize, and preserve the cultural heritage of Montana’s American Indians.
· Montana’s Common Core Standards infuse English and math competencies into other subject areas, just as processing information, solving problems, and communication are infused in all aspects of adult life in the 21st century.
· Most importantly, Montana’s Common Core Standards specifically establish goals that guide teachers in their design of instruction without limiting their professional judgment in how to deliver it.
Implementing Montana’s Common Core Standards will require much of Montana teachers. We’ll need to develop new skills, design new learning experiences, and ensure that assessments play a relevant, but appropriate role in students’ learning experiences. We know that Montana teachers are up to the task and that our students and our state will be better for our efforts.
The following Montana Teachers of the Year concur in this statement:
Teachers of the Year
Anna Baldwin, 2014, Arlee, HS English & Digital Academy Native American Studies
Eileen Sheehy, 2013, Billings, HS US Government & AP US Government & Politics
Tom Pedersen, 2012, Helena, HS Honors Biology II & Senior Science Seminar
Paul Andersen, 2011, Bozeman, HS AP Biology & GATE Physical Science
Anne Keith, 2010, Bozeman, 8th Grade Math & Communication Arts
Steve Gardiner, 2008, Billings, HS English & Journalism
Gary Carmichael, 2007, Whitefish, HS US and Modern World History
Debi Biegel, 2006, Bozeman, K-5 Instrumental & Choral Music
Mary Wren, 2005, Great Falls, HS Math
Alyson Mike, 2004, East Helena, 8th Grade Physical Science
Jon Runnalls, 2003, Helena, Middle School Science
Judie Woodhouse, 2002, Polson, HS English & Journalism
Terry Beaver, 1999, Helena, HS Biology
Patty Myers, 1998, Great Falls, 2d Grade
Kim Girard, 1997, Glasgow, HS Math
Nancy Stucky, 1992, Billings, Elementary Special Education
Kay Brost, 1994, Broadus, K-6 Librarian & Gifted & Talented
Mary Moe, 1987, Columbia Falls, HS English
Hal Stearns, 1986, Missoula, HS History & Sociology
Ken Price, 1984, Helena, HS Chemistry & Physics
Jack Johnson, 1972, Billings, 8th Grade US History, Current Events, & Math