Kristi Borge, a K-8 teacher living and working in Polaris, Montana, has been named 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year. Borge teaches 11 students out of a one-room schoolhouse in the rural town of 132 total residents. She has been teaching in Polaris since the fall of 2015. “I get to know the families so closely, which allows me to illustrate relevant connections between student lives and classroom content,” Borge said in an interview with MSU News Service.
Borge graduated from MSU’s College of Education with a bachelor's degree in elementary education K-8 and a reading K-12 minor in 2010, and then received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an educational research focus in 2016. She completed her student teaching at Anderson K-8 School just outside of Bozeman. “Getting to spend time in the classroom is really what gave me confidence that I was on the right career path,” Borge said of her studies.
Borge was nominated as Montana Teacher of the Year by Beaverhead County Superintendent of Schools, Linda Marsh. “I have worked with Kristi for several years and have seen firsthand her ability to create an environment with a positive culture for learning in which all students are free to make choices, ask and find answers to their question, and develop a love of learning,” Marsh said.
Borge understands the importance of her job and what it means to be a professional educator. “As a professional, I hope to continue to learn about the instructional planning practices of multi-grade teachers and establish frameworks and systems to help both myself and other multi-grade teachers to manage our workload and be more efficient, effective educators,” she said. Borge will represent Montana in the 2021 National Teacher of the Year Program, where she will participate in various learning opportunities along with other teachers.