GREEN RIVER — It was a surprise Green River teacher Brittney Montgomery will never forget. Shortly after the Pledge of Allegiance was recited this morning, students and teachers filled the hallways to surprise Mrs. Montgomery.
First grade teacher and Wyoming’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Montgomery was then escorted out of Principal Steve Lake’s office to a shocking sight. With inspirational music playing over Harrison Elementary School’s speaker system, Montgomery was quickly greeted with a vase overflowing with flowers and too many helium-filled balloons to count.
She immediately started to tear up when she realized what was happening. In shock, Montgomery was asked to make her way around the school, where students and staff alike clapped their hands and shouted things like “She’s Teacher of the Year,” “Congratulations Mrs. Montgomery,” and “We’re so proud of you!”
Mrs. Montgomery made her way down the school’s hallways and library, giving students hugs and high fives. Students and teachers could hardly contain their excitement as they jumped up and down waiting for her to walk by their rooms. Students also had made signs saying “Congratulations” and “Congratulations Mrs. Montgomery Wyoming Teacher of the Year!”
Montgomery was overcome with joy and surprise and could be seen wiping a few tears away from her eyes as the excitement continued. After everyone felt they had given Montgomery a proper congratulations, the students and staff made their way back to the classrooms.
Montgomery has been teaching with Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No. 2 for the last 13 years. She started at Jackson Elementary School as a kindergarten teacher and stayed there for eight years before making her way over to Harrison Elementary School to teach first grade. She’s been at Harrison for the last five years.
Principal Lake said he has had the pleasure to work with Montgomery for the last four years. One thing he quickly noticed about Montgomery was her positive attitude and energy and how children and teachers alike are drawn to her.
“She’s all about what’s best for kids,” Lake said. “She’s just a really good employee and teacher.”
Lake said there are just too many examples of how she impacts kids’ lives, but one of them was when she started Story Time with Mrs. Montgomery on Facebook. She partnered with SweetwaterNOW and reached thousands of children each week during her storytimes. This was during a time when schools were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet Montgomery found a way to reach children even when she could no longer teach them face to face.
“She impacted thousands across the community,” Lake said.
For Montgomery, seeing kids grow and reach their full potential is her passion. As a child, Montgomery struggled in school and was diagnosed with ADHD and ADD. As she grew up, she realized she wanted to help children who faced the same struggles. That’s what led her to pursue a degree in teaching.
Montgomery doesn’t see learning disabilities as “disabilities,” but rather those students just need to be taught differently. She said one size doesn’t fit all, and sometimes she often thinks outside of the box to connect with a child.
“This is my passion,” Montgomery said. “I’m in it for those moments when they finally see their potential.”
Montgomery said she tries to meet kids where they are at and then help them get to where they need to be.
Wyoming Teacher of the Year
Montgomery said she was shocked when she was nominated at SCSD No. 2’s Teacher of the Year. She was even more surprised when she was named the District’s Teacher of the Year.
When she later found out, she was in the top three for the Wyoming Teacher of the Year, she was excited, but she said there are so many great educators throughout the state she wasn’t sure she would receive the award.
While it’s nice being named Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year, Montgomery was humble about it saying it didn’t mean she was the best teacher, but those deciding who received the state’s award saw something in her and know she will be a good advocate for teachers and students.
She’s proud to represent Green River, SCSD No. 2 and the community for this award. As Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Montgomery will need to speak at events.
As exciting as this honor is, Montgomery wants to keep the focus where it should be: on the kids.
“The kids are the reason I do this,” Montgomery said.