Wyoming’s 2019 Teacher of the Year Valerie Bruce credits the award, in large part, to knowledge she gained while earning a master’s degree in Education Administration from Chadron State College in 2017. Bruce teaches first grade at Rozet Elementary, a rural school near Gillette.
Bruce said while she researched degree programs to prepare for her goal of eventually becoming a principal, she determined CSC was a good fit.
“My experience at CSC was phenomenal. I found the course offerings to be excellent and during my work I found a ton of meaning in the readings, projects, assignments, and discussions. The professors I worked with were excellent and they engaged, empowered, and supported me through my learning,” Bruce said.
Bruce, a Montana native, has taught at Rozet since she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in 2009.
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She said communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills refined during her graduate program have assisted her career in a variety of ways. She is now eager to share her insights.
“Being recognized with this honor has been a once in a lifetime experience. I hope to spread this feeling among my peers and share this exciting time with them, as well as my students,” said Bruce, who was nominated by the parent of a former student.
The Council of Community State and School Officers led a week-long induction for Bruce and her fellow honorees in February, including a tour of two Google for Education campuses in California. She was also invited to speak in the House and Senate of the Wyoming Legislature, and has worked with the Wyoming Department of Education, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow.
“Sharing our passions for learners and education has been an opportunity I will carry with me throughout my career in education,” Bruce said. “I hope to give back to my district, my state, and the families I serve, and will serve in the future.”