Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen was in Baker on Tuesday to honor the 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year, Linda Rost of Baker High School. Arntzen says Rost was chosen in part because of how she engages her students in science projects with practical applications.

“They are doing research projects,” Arntzen said. “It is a very rural community. Anything dealing with agriculture comes into her classroom. One of the students is doing a research project on biodegradable hay baling equipment. In other words, all that netting and everything else can be biodegradable after any certain point of life.”

Arntzen says a number of factors were considered to choose Rost as the teacher of the year.

“We have two rigorous committees that go through a selection process,” Arntzen said. “We had agriculture leaders. Students were also there. We had someone from the governor’s office and we had the chamber. Rural schools were also on the committee. It was a very diverse committee that shouted out unanimously that a teacher from Baker is the 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year.”

Arntzen says in Baker and all of rural Montana, that school is a vital part of each community.

“Students are very engaged and that is the most exciting thing,” Arntzen said. “In rural Montana, graduation rates are high. Students ride buses for many hours to get to school and to go home, but they are actively engaged in school and their community. Rural Montana is the heart of Montana.”

According to Arntzen, the teacher of the year decision was made by several groups.