Global Educator of the Year

Each year, the Montana World Affairs Council is pleased to honor an educator who has made exceptional contributions to broadening the global horizons of their students and colleagues. The Global Educator of the Year Award is bestowed upon an outstanding K-12 teacher who has gone above and beyond their normal classroom responsibilities to promote international awareness and understanding. Not only have our previous Global Educator of the Year recipients contributed to the development of global minds, they have developed resources so that other educators and community members are better prepared to meet a major challenge of our time: informing our youth about world affairs.

The Global Educator of the Year receives a $500 donation to purchase international classroom materials, publications, and resources, generously donated by Drs. Edwin and Janet House. 

Nominations may come from a principal, colleague, parent, or student that can speak to the educator’s strengths as they relate to this award.

Previous Global Educators of the Year


Ryan Cooney, Project for Alternative Learning in Helena

Ryan teaches Government, History, and World Cultures at the Project for Alternative Learning in Helena, Montana, as well as Government and AP Government for Montana Digital Academy. Previously, he taught World Cultures, Government, and AP Government at Capital High School from 2007-2018. Ryan is seriously passionate about social studies, especially current events and global affairs, and frequently gets tricked into discussing headlines and current events for entire class periods by his students, who know him far too well.

Ryan and his wife Erika have one son, Edward Lee Cooney, who was born in August of 2021. They have a cat (Jack), two dogs (Rudy and Blackbeard), and a Honduran Curly Haired Tarantula (Teddy Roosevelt). When not in the classroom or helping students prepare for Montana Academic WorldQuest, he and his family can be found in the mountains hiking/biking/ skiing/ snowmobiling, working on the family cabin in Elliston, Montana, or on the water at the Gates of the Mountains on the Missouri River.

Ryan and his students have participated in AWQ for the past four years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. He feels strongly that the path to a happy, productive, and empathetic populace starts with educating students about the wonders of the world and the people who live in it. The challenges we face are immense, but we have the power to vanquish them; the tools that we need to solve our problems are unlocked with knowledge.