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 will be honored during our “Connect Montana” programming the week before the 2021 Academic WorldQuest and will receive a one-year membership to the Montana World Affairs Council. Additionally, the winner will receive a $500 donation to purchase international classroom materials, publications, and resources, generously donated by Dr. Edwin and Janet House. The honoree will also be named in media releases highlighting their accomplishments and dedication.

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

2020 Global Educator of the Year

Christina Cote-Reinhart, Gardiner Public Schools

Image of Christina Cote-ReinhartChristina Cote-Reinhart has been the only Social Studies teacher in grades 7-12 in Gardiner Public School for 20 years, teaching courses in U.S. History, World History, Government, AP European History and AP U.S. Government and Politics. She has a B.A. in Political Science and History from Texas A&M University and an M.A. from Ashland University in History and Government, receiving the James Madison Fellowship. For those same years, she has coached Speech and Debate winning 14 state championships and was named Speech Coach of the Year three times. She has served as Legislative Adviser in the YMCA Youth and Government program for many years. Considering Holocaust education integral to student’s education, she  became a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Fellow in 2019. Taking students abroad has been a real joy of her career. She has taken students on many European spring break trips, and participated in a State Department exchange program with Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Last year, she was honored to participate in the Kakehashi Program in Japan. Participation in Montana Academic Worldquest fulfills her goals as an educator to enlarge students’ worldview and is one of her favorite extracurricular activities. She considers global education essential for future citizens’ ability to understand pressing world issues and recognizing the humanity of those outside our borders. 

2019 Global Educator of the Year

John Tooke, Custer County District High School

John Tooke is a Social Studies teacher at Custer County District High School, teaching World History, U.S. History, and Government. His educational goals are improving the curriculum to comprehensively teach genocide education throughout the entire curriculum. He has spent the last few years coordinating Holocaust education outreach to the community by bringing Holocaust survivors to our community for presentations. He organizes a yearly trip to Washington DC to enhance the CCDHS students’ learning experience. An important part of this DC trip is the visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and having a speaker at the museum present to the students. John has also been organizing trips to Auschwitz, Poland that enable students to join a Holocaust survivor in her place of capture and hear her personal story of survival. John Tooke was nominated by Principal Beez Lucero.

2018 Global Educator of the Year

Edward Hentges, Wolf Point High School

Edward Hentges teaches United States History, Ancient World History, Modern World History, and Current Events at Wolf Point High School. For the last three years, he has brought students to Academic WorldQuest in Missoula, Montana, traveling from 485 miles away. Edward Hentges writes “It is my sincere desire to exercise students’ skills pertaining to empathy and exploration. This was my main motivation three years ago when I decided to try and provide an opportunity to expand some of my student’s perceptions. For many, the outside world exists as another wholly apart from us. I wanted to challenge the idea that the world stops at our reservation’s borders.”

2016 Global Educator of the Year

Patricia Hixson, Hellgate High School, Missoula

Patty Hixson teaches Modern World History and International Baccalaureate: 20th Century Topics at Hellgate High School in Missoula, where she has been educating students since 2001. Aside from being Hellgate’s Academic WorldQuest Advisor (and winning state four times), she has also been an advisor Model United Nations and Amnesty International, as well led student trips to India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. She holds a BA and MA in History.

2015 Global Educator of the Year

Bill Shannon, Park High School, Livingston

Bill Shannon has dedicated his time to enhancing global education and classroom involvement for the last 32 years. He has been a special education teacher as well as a social studies teacher, teaching classes such as World History, World Cultures, and French. He promotes understanding through guest speakers, food days, videoconferences, and participation in Model United Nations and Academic WorldQuest. Bill has also led three international student trips to Japan.

2014 Global Educator of the Year

Amy Wallner-Drake, Bozeman High School

Amy Wallner-Drake has been going above and beyond to teach global awareness and understanding for over 11 years at Bozeman High School. Amy is passionate about the world and demonstrates that passion by creating experiences for her students to embrace global opportunities, such as arranging guest speakers, mobilizing field trips, and holding informational sessions for students during lunch. Each year, she serves as a mentor to another teacher from a different country through the Teaching Excellence Award program.

2013 Global Educator of the Year

Mr. Geoffry Habel, Great Falls High School

The Montana World Affairs Council is pleased to announce the 2013 honoree Mr. Geoffry Habel of Great Falls High School. Geoffry Habel, a Social Studies teacher from Great Falls High School, was nominated by Great Falls Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Tom Moore and his nomination was supported by a letter from Great Falls High School Prinicpal, Jane Gregoire.