Blackfeet Nation’s Native American Studies Educator Kevin Kicking Woman Named 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year

 Blackfeet Nation’s Native American Studies Educator Kevin Kicking Woman Named 2024 Montana Teacher of the YearKevin Kicking Woman, an esteemed educator from the Blackfeet Nation, has been heralded as the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year, marking a significant milestone in his illustrious career dedicated to preserving and celebrating Native American culture. This prestigious accolade, bestowed upon Kicking Woman by the Montana Office of Public Instruction, recognizes his unwavering commitment to his students, community, and the rich heritage of the Blackfeet people.

“It is my honor to present the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year award to Mr. Kevin Kicking Woman,” said Montana State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “Kevin reflects every aspect of a Montana teacher through his commitment to his students, culture, community and our state. His leadership is a welcome addition to the Montana Teacher of the Year legacy. We as Montana are proud of Kevin, join me in celebrating this great achievement!”

Kicking Woman’s journey to becoming the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year is a testament to his passion for education and cultural preservation. With nearly 25 years of teaching experience under his belt, Kicking Woman has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students. He began his career at Browning Middle School before assuming roles such as the Indian Education Director at Heart Butte Public Schools and serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana.

A graduate of the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in Native American studies and anthropology, followed by a master’s in interdisciplinary studies, Kicking Woman possesses a deep understanding of his cultural heritage and the importance of passing it on to future generations. At Browning High School, his alma mater, Kicking Woman imparts Blackfeet language and culture to students in grades nine through 12, instilling in them a sense of pride and identity.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Kevin Kicking Woman, our Blackfeet Native American Studies teacher for Browning Public Schools receiving the prestigious Teacher of the Year Award for the State of Montana,” said Browning Superintendent Corrina Guardipee-Hall. “Mr. Kicking Woman has consistently gone above and beyond his role as a BNAS teacher, making a profound impact on both our students, the community, and the Blackfeet Reservation.”

Upon receiving the prestigious title of 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year, Kicking Woman expressed his gratitude and sense of responsibility, stating, “I literally believe that we carry our ancestors with us, and I just felt so good that from past teachers, to family, to just everything about Native people and how we got here and how we came to be and so on.” He emphasized the importance of preserving the language, songs, and way of life of the Blackfeet people, a mission he wholeheartedly embodies in his role as an educator.

Kicking Woman’s recognition comes after a highly competitive selection process, where he emerged victorious among three other finalists: Teresa Heil from Frazer, Jacob Turcotte from Poplar, and Tamara Fisher Alley from Polson. His unanimous selection by the committee underscores his exceptional dedication and impact on the educational landscape of Montana.

As the 2024 Montana Teacher of the Year, Kevin Kicking Woman will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition, further amplifying the voices and stories of indigenous educators across the nation. His tireless efforts to promote cultural understanding and academic excellence serve as an inspiration to educators everywhere, echoing his words, “Always try hard. Never give up. Education is our future.”

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