Graduate Profile

Gary Carmichael - Montana Teacher of the Year

Gary Carmichae

Western Governors University graduate Gary Carmichael was recently selected as Montana Teacher of the Year for 2007. This is the highest honor a Montana teacher can receive.

Currently teaching American history at Whitefish High School, Gary tries to challenge all his students into curiosity about the past, although he feels there is more to it. "Students who are actively involved as working historians can discover not only the content being taught and the technological skills being used, but also the problem-solving processes they will need later in life," says Gary. "That is what teaching is all about: preparing students for the future."

Coming from generations of Montana ranchers, miners, doctors and state politicians, Gary was fascinated by history at an early age. Hoping to pass this enthusiasm on, he tries to rely less on the textbook and engage his students by incorporating music, technology and local history to capture their attention.

With this title, Carmichael represented Montana at the National Teacher of the Year Event, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

One highlight stemming from his award included a trip to the White House to meet with the President and First Lady and other state winners. For him, this was the most memorable experience. "To think about all of the history that has taken place in that room while I was standing beside the president was exciting!" said Gary.

As an educator, Gary feels he is much like his students. "We build upon successes and learn from our failures. It's true, success breeds success; so as we set and reach short-term goals, we can't help but be successful in improving education and in time we will reach our long term goals," Gary says, "Think big, start small!"