Montana Teacher of the Year from Arlee visits White House

MISSOULA, Mont. - It's not every day that a high school science teacher from Arlee, gets to be in the same room as the president. But on Wednesday, that's exactly what happened.

Montana Teacher of the Year, Bill Stockton, traveled to Washington D.C. this week for the National Teacher of the Year Program's annual Washington week, along with 54 other teachers from across the country.

"I got an invitation this week, via email to go to the White House, and it just seems so surreal right now," Stockton said. "But I'm really excited to represent the state of Montana, and I'm really excited to represent all of the teachers in the state."

Stockton was named Montana Teacher of the Year by the Office of Public Instruction in September.

This week, he's been learning from teachers who were named 'Teacher of the Year' in their own states.

"For me, it's been really powerful and inspiring to get the opportunity to talk to people from all different parts of the United States, her the things that they're doing in their schools, and how that relates and might be different in some ways too, but how we have this common thread," he said.

His time in D.C. has been packed full with visits with the U.S. Department of Education Officials and members of Congress and trips to Smithsonian Museums.

But meeting the President and hearing the First Lady talk, who's a longtime educator herself, was the cherry on top.

Dr. Jill Biden praised the teachers at the Wednesday event.

"As I was reading through your stories, I was so impressed by the innovation and creativity that all of you bring to your classrooms every day," Biden said.

Both Dr. Jill Biden and President Biden thanked the teachers for their hard work and shared their goals to increase teacher retention and teacher salaries.

But being the teacher that Stockton is, he was still thinking about his students back home.

"It's also getting close to like AP Biology test time, and so I'm a little bit nervous for not being there to help them study this week. But they've been really supportive and it's been great," Stockton said.

He added he can't wait to take what he's learning in Washington D.C. back to Montana to help empower all the teachers in the state.

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