Recognizing Talented Teachers and Graduating Seniors

RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2020 — For nine years the GFPS Foundation’s Excellence in Education program has celebrated outstanding students and teachers.

The program recognizes top graduating seniors who meet the tough requirements to be Distinguished Scholars and Achievers. Each student selects two educators who most inspired them and had a positive impact on their education.

“When I announce to students that they have been selected for Excellence in Education, I remind them they had help along the way,” said Dave Crum, Executive Director of the Foundation.  “They received assistance from their families, friends and teachers.”

This year’s 34 selected students chose educators who influenced them to do their best, who challenged them, and who made learning special. Here are a few.

  • Paris Gibson Education Center student Katherine Beisecker wrote about her East Middle School English teacher, Keith Davey:Seventh grade was a very tough year for my mental health. Mr. Davey had a hand in helping me through my struggles. He was a person I trusted when I did not trust many. His room was a safe place and he made me laugh when no one else could. I want to say that he’s a big reason for my success.”
  • Great Falls High senior Turner Burchard wrote this about his chemistry teacher, Chris Crocker: “He taught me more about chemistry, life and every subject imaginable than any other teacher. Throughout is all he kept up his incredible intelligence and humor, making his class the one I looked forward to attending every day.”

    Executive Director, Dave Crum, pictured with CMR senior Madeleine Mayer and CMR teacher Erica Davis.
  • CMR student Madeleine Mayer wrote why she selected her French teacher, Erica Davis: “Madam Davis brings joy to her classroom every day. Since I first sat in her classroom my freshman year, she made learning French light-heated and fun. I look forward to her class. She makes personal connections with her students, and I will miss her.”

Normally, the students and teachers are honored at a special recognition ceremony each May, as well as in the Foundation’s annual Excellence in Education publication. Sadly, this year’s ceremony was canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Instead, we partnered with KRTV to feature the Excellence in Education program in four short segments. Three parts featured one student from each high school and their two selected teachers. The final segment announced the BNSF Teacher of the Year winners for 2020. These teachers – Beth Britton, journalism teacher at CMR High School and Callie Ross, third-grade grade teacher at Riverview Elementary – each receives $2,500 to further their education or for use in their classroom (see video below).

To watch the recorded interviews click on links below. The interviews were broadcast May 15, 16, 22 and 23.

CMR High School
Great Falls High School
Paris Gibson Education Center

The annual Excellence in Education publication will be distributed in early June. It features the recognized students and teachers and other information about the Foundation, as well as a spotlight on donors to the enhanced CTE Center at Great Falls High.

Donate A One Time Or Ongoing Scholarship For High School Graduates

Setting up an educational scholarship fund can be a meaningful way to give back to your community or to honor a loved one. There are a number of things to consider when planning a scholarship. Please contact the Foundation for assistance, we are happy to help you. Contact Stephanie Becker at [email protected] or call (406) 268-6021.