Superintendent Elsie Arntzen Proudly Announces 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year Finalists


August 21, 2023

HELENA – Superintendent Elsie Arntzen congratulates the four finalists for the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year award. The selected finalist will represent Montana during the 2024 National Teacher of the Year Program in Washington, D.C. Montana’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, Catherine Matthews, teaches Early Childhood Special Education Preschool at Hyalite Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana.

This year, 41 teachers from across the state were nominated by community members, teachers, administrators, and parents. Of those nominated, 19 teachers applied to be the 2024 Teacher of the Year.

All four finalists teach at schools located on Reservations, received their degrees from the Montana University System, and have between 12 and 28 years of classroom experience. The finalists are:

  • 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

“These four finalists reflect the qualities found in all of our Montana teachers,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “I am very appreciative of the dedication these teachers have to our Montana students, families, and education system. We are all Montana proud of the finalists! Best of luck to you all in the interview process.”

The National Teacher of the Year Program provides professional learning and development to increase teachers’ leadership skills. The program focuses on bringing attention to the importance of excellence in teaching.

On September 12, 2023, a committee will meet to interview the finalists and choose the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Arntzen will announce and honor the finalist during a celebration ceremony at their school. The committee to choose a finalist will be represented by the Governor’s Office, the Board of Public Education, the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Office of Public Instruction, the School Administrators of Montana, the Montana Advisory Council on Indian Education (MACIE), and Catherine Matthews.


Meet the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year Finalists

Teresa Heil

Frazer, Montana

Heil Headshot

Jacob Turcotte

Poplar, Montana

Turcotte Headshot

Tamara Fisher Alley

Polson, Montana

Fisher Headshot

Kevin Kicking Woman

Browning, Montana

Kicking Woman Headshot