The mission of the Montana Teacher of the Year Program is to elevate student success by empowering classroom innovation and enhancing pathways to teacher leadership.


2024 Montana Teacher of the Year 

Congratulations to Kevin Kicking Woman for being named the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year!

2024 Montana Teacher of the Year Award Finalists

This year, 41 teachers from across the state were nominated by community members, teachers, administrators, and parents. Of those nominated, 19 teachers successfully applied to be the 2024 Teacher of the Year. The process is framed by two committees of stakeholders. This first committee reviewed and narrowed the applications to these four finalists.

  • Teresa Heil, a K-12 Visual Arts teacher at Frazer Public Schools
  • Jacob Turcotte, a 7th-grade English teacher and the lead teacher for the Buffalo Unity Project at Poplar Middle School
  • Tamara Fisher Alley, a K-12 Gifted Education Specialist for the Polson School District
  • Kevin Kicking Woman, a Blackfeet Language and Culture teacher at Browning High School


MontanaTeacher of the Year logo

A+ The TOY Program elevates student success by celebrating teachers who honor individual student strengths and each child’s unique abilities.

A+ The TOY Program empowers classroom innovation by recognizing teachers who are responsive to the complex realities that define Montana’s diverse and unique classrooms across the state.

A+ The TOY Program enhances pathways to teacher leadership by creating teacher ambassadors at the local, state, and national level to connect classrooms to the community.


2025 Program Timeline

  • April 8, 2024 - Nomination and application window opens 
  • May 10, 2024 - Nominations due
  • June 21, 2024 - Applications due to
  • July-August 2024 - Applications reviewed by committees
  • Mid-September 2024 - Finalists selected
  • Mid-September 2024 - Finalists interviewed by state committee, MT TOY selected
  • October 2024 - National Teacher of the Year Application Due to CCSSO
  • February 2025 - MT TOY begins duties and NTOY activities

2024 Montana Teacher of the Year

2024 Teacher of the Year
Kevin Kicking Woman of Browning

Kevin Kicking Woman (Kooki “Corner”) is an enrolled tribal member of the Blackfeet Nation. 

Kicking Woman served in the Navy for four years, based on the USS Sacramento, in Bremerton, Washington. Kickingwoman was honorably discharged from his service in the Navy with accommodations and Main Propulsion Engineering certification.

Kicking Woman has his teacher license, and class 7 teaching certification, qualifying him as a Blackfeet cultural teacher. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Montana in 2011 and earned his Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Cultural Anthropology, Linguistics, and Music Ethnology from the University of Montana in 2014.

Kicking Woman has dedicated his career to teaching, learning, and sharing knowledge. He has taught from elementary to university. He began his nearly 25-year teaching career at Browning Middle School, then as the Indian Education Director at Heart Butte Public Schools. He also taught at Loyola Sacred Heart High School in Missoula, Montana while serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana. Today, Kickingwoman teaches Blackfeet Language and Culture at his alma mater, Browning High School.

Kicking Woman has been raised, lives, and practices his Native ceremonies and traditions. He is an active member of many of the societies and bundles of the Blackfeet people. His passion for singing has brought him respect, acclaim, and knowledge. His singing, sharing, and teaching others have impacted and enriched many lives. Kicking Woman and his wife Joni have five children and one granddaughter, “Kooki,” who is his pride and joy.        






2024 Teacher of the Year Ceremony



2024 Montana Teacher
of the Year Finalists

Past Montana Teachers of the Year

2023 Teacher of the Year
Catherine Matthews of Bozeman



2022 Teacher of the Year
William Stockton of Arlee


2022 Teacher of the Year, William Stockton of Arlee, MT



2021 Teacher of the Year
Kristi Borge of Polaris





2020 Teacher of the Year
Linda Rost of Baker





2019 Teacher of the Year
Dylan Huisken of Bonner