RURAL TEACHER — Lydia Mild, pictured here in her one room class at the Dupuyer School where she instructs seven students, was named the Montana Rural School Teacher of the Year. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
If Dupuyer wasn’t noticeable before, it will be now with Dupuyer School teacher Lydia Mild being named Montana Rural School Teacher of the Year.
There is no higher award for a Montana teacher than to be named Teacher of the Year!
The program honors the contributions of Montana teachers.
It creates a visible and articulate community of award-winning educators who represent the best of the best in the teaching profession.
As the Montana Rural School Teacher of the Year, Mild will serve as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession and represent Montana in the National Teacher of the Year event later in Missouri.
She will be honored at the annual banquet of Montana Association of County Superintendents of Schools in White Sulpher Springs later this month.
As part of the banquet, Mild will be charged with doing a 15-20 minute presentation about herself, her students, the Dupuyer School and the community.
For Mild, becoming an educator was almost a given. Her mother and an uncle were both teachers in the Whitefish area where she grew up.
She received a degree in Education from the UofM-Dillon campus in 1997 and taught in rural schools in Glen, about 20 miles north of Dillon and Polaris so when she came to Dupuyer in 2002 it was an easy fit with all of seven students, or eight if you add in a pre-schooler.
Talking about teaching in a rural setting, Mild commented, “It’s rewarding to see kids learn and feel good about themselves. There are a lot of positive things going on here.”
This is an award she didn’t expect to be receiving, “There are so many good teachers out there,” she noted. She went on to add, “I’m still kind of in awe and I am very excited about it.”
Mild writes school plays based on the history of Dupuyer and when she and her students take a day-trip, they are required to make a presentation of what they learned to parents and the community so folks will know they aren’t just out having fun away from school.
She is actively involved in the community, working on Grizzly Day and with community plays and organizes and runs the annual Rural Science Fair which involves not only Dupuyer but other schools and draws as many as 60 to 70 entries.
Mild has a love of horses and when not in school, she can often be found teaching horsemanship to her students. Mild is also an artist.
Jo Stone, Pondera County Superintendent of Schools nominated her and commented, “She wears many, many hats. We are fortunate to have her teaching in Dupuyer.”
Stone went on to add, “She does a wonderful job and the kids love her, I wish every child could experience a teacher like her.”
It is believed that Mild is the first educator in Pondera County to be named Montana Rural Teacher of the Year.