State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen joined Baker High School students, teachers, and administrators Sept. 3, to congratulate Linda Rost on being named Montana’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Rost is a high school science teacher with a Master’s Degree in Science Education from MSU and is working towards a Ph.D. from Texas Tech. She will go on to represent Montana in the 2020 National Teacher of the Year competition.
“Congratulations to Mrs. Rost and the entire Baker community! It is an honor to appoint Linda to represent Montana in the National Teacher of the Year program,” State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen stated. “Linda will serve as a teacher-leader in Montana and as a strong voice for our rural schools on the national stage. Her passion for student-centered learning along with college and career readiness will greatly benefit education in our state.”
“Mrs. Rost is an inspirational teacher who motivates deep learning in her students and we are very proud and honored to have her on our educational team,” commented Baker High School Principal Dave Breitbach. “In a small school setting, using instructional strategies that engage all students in a diversified classroom is just one challenge Mrs. Rost must overcome on a daily basis. At Baker High School, classroom diversity may begin with the mixing of age groups and then is further complicated by a wide range of comprehension levels, science backgrounds, and varied areas of interest. Regardless of the student make-up in her classes, Mrs. Rost finds ways to connect to each and every student, who ultimately leave her classroom better than when they entered.”
Mrs. Rost rose to the top of the field after a rigorous and competitive selection process. An initial selection committee met to review applications last month and recommend finalists who were interviewed by a separate committee. Other finalists included Jordan Lankford-Forster from Great Falls, Traci Doll from Billings, and Connie Wittak from Scobey.
The selection committees consisted of representatives from the Montana Advisory Council on Indian Education, the Montana University System, the Board of Public Education, the Governor’s Office, the Montana Small Schools Alliance, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Montana Legislature, the East Helena School Board, and 2019 Montana Teacher of the Year Dylan Huisken.
Visit the OPI’s website for more information about the Montana Teacher of the Year Program: opi.mt.gov/Educators/Teaching-Learning/Montana-Teacher-of-the-Year.
Rost receives Montana Teacher of the Year Award
By Shannon Johnson
Linda Rost, a science teacher at Baker High School, received the Montana Teacher of the Year Award on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Rost’s family presented the award to her Tuesday morning and took her by complete surprise. “It feels so surreal. I’m not sure it really happened,” she admitted. “I think that teaching is the most important and noblest profession and the absolute best job in the world. It is such an honor to be recognized for teaching because I am completely obsessed with it and with my students.”
Rost teaches several science classes including Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, AP Biology and Science Research to 10th-12th graders. “I love watching people learn and get excited about their own learning and growth. I see so many students transform from reluctant learners to those excited about science, school, and learning. That’s the stuff of life,” Rost gushed. “I also love that teaching is such a challenging and creative field. I can express my creativity, my love for my subject area and my love for my students every day.”
“Whenever I have special guests in my classroom and I see them visiting with my students, I think about how lucky I am that I get to work with my students every day and watch them learn, but these guests only get a small amount of time to interact with my students. Their jobs must really stink,” she playfully added.
Rost’s passion for teaching, science, growth, and her students all played a contributing role in her being able to win this award. “I have watched my students accomplish really brave and amazing things and that has really pushed me to challenge myself too,” she explained. “I have worked to improve and hone my teaching, develop engaging lessons, but also to really listen and study my students’ learning. I am really open to any method that will help them learn. I am a scientist and my students are my test subjects!”
“I have also had opportunities to grow by serving in leadership positions across the state and mentor many other teachers through long term programs that transform their teaching and learning,” she added.
Rost puts an emphasis on the children and their own growth as people when it comes to teaching. “These kids I teach are incredible. They are creative, innovative, hard-working, and so inspiring,” Rost commented. “We need to stop complaining about them being moody teenagers, because it’s actually developmentally appropriate for them to be everything adults complain about teenagers for being. We were that way too, and they are supposed to be that way. They want something good to plug into. They want what they do and say and think to matter; as adults, we also want that. They want to be able to express themselves for who they are and to be loved for that.”
“They really, literally are the future and we need to look at them through those eyes,” Rost acknowledged.