Dear Partners in Education:


Please see the letter below from Superintendent Arntzen:

The OPI is seeking your input on the Montana Teacher of the Year Program as we will now lead the administration and selection process for the program beginning with the 2019 Montana Teacher of the Year.


Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to help the OPI make the Montana Teacher of the Year Program a success.




Chrissie Tharp



From: Superintendent Elsie Arntzen

Subject: Opportunity for Input: MT Teacher of the Year Program


Dear Partners in Education,


At the Office of Public Instruction, we believe it is essential to recognize and celebrate our great educators. The Montana Teacher of the Year Program is one way in which we do that. We appreciate the work of the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation to organize the selection process since 1996, but strongly believe the celebration and recognition of the Montana Teacher of the Year is a proper and necessary role for the Office of Public Instruction to demonstrate how Montana supports and appreciates all teachers across our state. Therefore, we are planning to transition the program to the Office of Public Instruction next year. To ensure a smooth transition and successful program in the future, we want your input and ideas.


We support the Foundation’s current selection process already underway for the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year, which will be submitted to the National Teacher of the Year Program this fall. The OPI will not begin a transition of the program until thoughtful meetings with all stakeholders take place. Our goal throughout this transition is two-fold: To ensure all teachers in Montana have the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and dedication on behalf of students, and to improve upon the program to ensure the Montana Teachers of the Year and their colleagues receive professional learning opportunities throughout their year of service. To accomplish this, we are seeking input from key stakeholders.


To support the OPI in collecting this feedback into a robust and thoughtful plan for 2019, we are working with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which runs the National Teacher of the Year Program. CCSSO has conducted a series of case studies to determine the essential qualities of a strong State Teacher of the Year Program. (We have attached the full results, for your information.)Through this partnership, CCSSO will conduct a series of impartial interviews with key stakeholders in the Montana education community to understand the successes of the current program, and also identify opportunities and recommendations to grow the program in the years to come.


On September 20-22, CCSSO will visit the OPI offices to conduct these interviews (either in-person or via phone), and we would greatly appreciate your participation for a 1 hour interview. Please complete this form by August 31 to share your availability, and send to Chrissie Tharp at


If you have any questions regarding the process, please feel free to reach out to Deputy Superintendent Tim Tharp at any time. He can be reached at or 406-444-7325. I personally appreciate your leadership in this process, and look forward to working with you to enhance the Montana Teacher of the Year Program and other ways we can recognize and celebrate the teachers in our state.




Elsie Arntzen

State Superintendent