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Arlee’s Stockton named Teacher of the Year

by SCOT HEISEL
Lake County Leader | September 28, 2021 11:45 AM

Longtime Arlee High School science teacher Bill Stockton has been selected as Montana’s Teacher of the Year and will represent the state in this year’s National Teacher of the Year competition.

The award was announced Tuesday morning during a ceremony at the school.

“I am proud to announce Arlee High School science teacher Bill Stockton is the 2022 Montana Teacher of the Year,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen said Tuesday. “Bill exemplifies the kind of teacher all educators aspire to be. He has not only ignited a passion for science in his students, but he has also extended that same enthusiasm to all of the student teachers he has mentored. It’s easy to see why Bill was unanimously selected to represent Montana; I wish him all the best at the National Teacher of the Year competition.”

Stockton was among four finalists for the state award, along with Steffani Grogan of Forsyth, Christina Pavlovich of Livingston and Brianna Saltenberger of Anaconda.

The selection committee was made up of representatives from the Office of Public Instruction, the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, education advocates, the Montana business community, the Montana Legislature and 2020 Teacher of the Year Kristi Borge of Polaris.

“I’m very honored to be recognized as the 2022 teacher of the year. There have been many great teachers that have impacted my life and I owe this award to them,” Stockton said Tuesday.

Nominations for the award can be made by anyone, and Arlee High School principal Corey Beckham said Monday that he wasn’t sure who nominated Stockton, but it was no surprise.

“Bill is a guy who’s constantly looking to do what's best for the kids,” Beckham said. “If something doesn’t make sense, he asks great questions and is always looking out for the betterment of the students."

Stockton, a native of Idaho, is in his 14th year of teaching and 12th at Arlee High School. He teaches a revolving lineup of science classes, including AP biology, physics, anatomy, wildlife biology, chemistry and principles of health science.

Stockton earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in science education at Montana State University. He was a recipient of the 2020 Teresa Veltkamp Advocacy Award for Excellence in Indian Education for All.

“He’s an ex-coach,” Beckham said, “so he’s not afraid to voice his opinion when it needs to be heard. He’s a teacher who’s a leader, and he’s not afraid to ask the tough questions. He’s constantly willing to improve and learn and listen. He’s willing to accept feedback and grow from it.”

“I have known Mr. Stockton for seven years now in various roles,” Arlee School District Superintendent Mike Perry said. “Bill is so deserving of this recognition, as he stands as an example to staff and students in the role of an effective teacher. Mr. Stockton is always striving to increase his own learning so that he may change his teaching methods in order to meet the needs of the students in his classroom. He is also supportive of the students in their endeavors outside of the classroom, which allows him to have sincere and vital relationships which increases the learning that takes place in his classroom. The students in Mr. Stockton’s classes know that he has high expectations, holds them to high standards, and cares for each of them as individuals. We at Arlee Schools are so proud and grateful that Mr. Stockton chooses to practice his talents here in our district.”