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 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.

2024 Program Timeline

  • April 12, 2023 - Nomination and application window opens 
  • May 12, 2023 - Nominations due
  • June 23, 2023 - Applications due to
  • July-August 2023 - Applications reviewed by committees
  • Mid-September 2023 - Finalists selected
  • Mid-September 2023 - Finalists interviewed by state committee, MT TOY selected
  • October 2023 - National Teacher of the Year Application Due to CCSSO
  • February 2024 - MT TOY begins duties and NTOY activities

2023 Montana Teacher of the Year

2023 Teacher of the Year
Catherine Matthews of Bozeman


2023 Teacher of the Year, Catherine Matthews of BozemanCatherine Matthews currently teaches the Early Childhood Special Education Preschool Classroom at Hyalite Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana. Matthews has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Montana State University Bozeman and a Master of Science in Special Education from Montana State University Billings. 

She has been a Montana Special Education Preschool Teacher for twenty years and is the mother to two amazing boys who are always willing to help with prepping activities and celebrations for her students. Matthews also operates an organic farm, and donkey rescue, and is an apiarist (beekeeper) in the Gallatin Valley, striving to provide local, farm-to-market, healthy food options and learning opportunities for her students, families, and local community.





2023 Teacher of the Year Ceremony


2023 Teacher of the Year Ceremony


2023 Montana Teacher
of the Year Finalists

Past Montana Teachers of the Year

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