After learning she had become the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year, Melissa Romano had to get back to work. She was preparing for an event at Four Georgians where she teaches. According to 2017 Montana Teacher of the Year Kelly Elder, it is just an example of what makes Melissa such a successful educator.
“She goes out of her way every day to contribute to her students and her colleagues to make her school a better place to teach & learn,” said Elder.
Each year, the Montana Teacher of the Year program recognizes a teacher who exemplifies the best in the teaching profession. It is the highest honor a Montana teacher can receive. The program is sponsored and administered by the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, based in Helena.
Melissa Romano and other teachers nominated for Montana Teacher of the Year go through an exhaustive application process. Three finalists were chosen for interviews, which took place on Sept. 23rd. This year’s selection committee included representatives from school organizations, fellow educators, parents, and students.
As the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year, Melissa Romano will serve as an ambassador for public education, represent Montana in the National Teacher of the Year program, and attend several national events along with the other state teachers of the year.
Melissa Romano began teaching in 2004 after ten years working as a nanny, exploring her passion and love for children. Watching a child’s face light up as they play and discover the joy of learning something new inspired her to become a teacher, where she strives to create those experiences every day for her students.
This past year Melissa became one of 130 select teachers nationwide to share lessons on BetterLesson, a website creating a year’s worth of classroom-ready math lessons. Additionally, she worked as a BetterLesson Science Master Teacher and is currently working as an instructional coach delivering personalized professional development to teachers nationwide.
Global Connection: Romano shares, “Ensuring that my students are connected to the world around them and able to display empathy and compassion to those in their world is extremely important. Students who experience other cultures and develop skills in a connected world are better prepared to be productive, kind, and world changers. I aim to bring the world to my students by extending student learning through field trips and hands on experiences, using technology as a tool to compare our community and state to other parts of the world, and by emphasizing the act of giving to others.”
Parent Maureen Boyle, who wrote in support of Romano’s application, shares, “She is a teacher who deeply cares about her students and works to build an environment of great respect both in and out of the classroom. She brought out a fierce love for math and inspired my daughter to continue to push herself. My son loved her instruction of his favorite subjects of science and writing. I am grateful that both of my children had the opportunity to work under Mrs. Romano’s tutelage.”
Finalists: This year’s other two Teacher of the Year finalists are Judith Boyle, an elementary teacher at Divide School in Divide; and Judy Vincent, a first-grade teacher at Shields Valley Elementary School in Wilsall.
Teacher of the Year Celebration: Melissa Romano, Judith Boyle, and Judy Vincent will be honored at a celebration on October 19 in Missoula. The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation sponsors the celebration in conjunction with the annual MEA-MFT Educators’ Conference.
The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, based in Helena, works to enhance the teaching profession and promote quality education in Montana. The Montana Teacher of the Year program is one of several projects sponsored by the foundation. Others include:
• Karen Cox Memorial Grants to help teachers who pay for classroom resources out of their own pockets
• National Board Certification & Candidate Support
• Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching
• Jim McGarvey Scholarships