Roy teacher wins national award

News-Argus Managing Editor
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
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Jake Rhoades



Roy, Montana, population just over 100 people and fewer than 40 K-12 students, recently gained celebrity status, thanks to a teacher. 

Jake Rhoades, history teacher at Roy Public School, was named 2018 Montana History Teacher of the Year by the Glider Lehrman Institute of American History.

“I feel like I’m representing all of my teacher friends who work at small schools and are such great teachers,” Rhoades told the News-Argus.

From its beginning in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year award is intended to highlight the “crucial importance” of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers, according to Josh Landon, director of marketing for the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Each year the Institute selects a “teacher of the year” from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and schools in U.S. territories. This year for all of Montana, the honor goes to Rhoades.

Rhoades said typically a teacher from one of the larger school districts in the more urban parts of Montana wins the award. But according to the Institute, Rhoades’ excellence in teaching took him to the top this time.

“A period in Mr. Rhoades’ class is a period well spent…his love of all things history shines through to his students,” Landon said in a press release.

Rhoades said one of his colleagues nominated him for the award, and the first he heard of it was a call from the Institute, asking him to write his teaching philosophy. Rhoades also had to give examples of what goes on in his classroom, send sample lesson plans and have a video taken to show him working with his students.

Rhoades said he learned he’d been selected in mid-June and, once the press releases citing the winning instructors started going out, he began hearing from other teachers. That’s when it began to feel real.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute will review all those chosen to represent individual states or territories, and will then select a Top 10 list. This fall a National History Teacher of the Year will be selected. Rhoades does not yet know if he will make the Top 10 list or not.

But, he said, it really doesn’t matter. He is thrilled with being designated Montana’s History Teacher of the Year.

“This honor will influence my teaching going forward,” Rhoades said. “It raises the bar for me, and encourages me to keep on keeping on. I’ve become aware of so many cool resources that are available for teaching history that it makes me want to do more.”

Rhoades will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the Roy School library will get an archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman education materials. Rhoades will be honored at an award ceremony in Montana, and is invited to the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar, a weeklong program where teachers meet eminent historians, visit historic sites and do hands-on work with primary sources.



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