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Montana Teachers of the Year News Release: 21 Former Current and Former Montana Teachers of the Year Endorse Common Core State Standards

• ExcelinEd

October 4, 2013


Montana Teachers of the Year for Common Core

Contact: Mary Sheehy Moe: 406-868-9427,

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.

Here’s why:

  • 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


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