Montana’s Special Education Teacher of the Year

By Jada Smook

Montana Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) in Missoula awards six different honors each year: Teacher of the Year, Business Award, Public Service Award, Special Education Research Award, Outstanding Leadership Award, and Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award. Through these awards, MCEC recognizes special teachers who have advanced the quality of special education.
Christina Schertel, Vice Principle of Troy High School, was recognized in Missoula last night as Teacher of the Year. This award honors a MCEC member who currently provides direct services to students with outstanding intelligence and whose work shows the best in special education teaching.
Schertel’s peers are very proud of her for winning this award, especially Superintendent, Jacob Francom. “This is a huge thing and Christina deserves the recognition. She has done so much for our district and for our students,” said Francom.

Not only is this a big deal for her, but also for her district. For the small town of Troy, one of their teachers being honored with a big award such as this one is outstanding. “This is a huge recognition for her and the district.” expressed Francom when telling The Montanian about the award Schertel was given.
Francom nominated Schertel for the award with a three page letter to MCEC. In it he stated, “Christina’s impact in the high school has been extraordinary and her accomplishments have impacted and improved services to not only exceptional students, but all students of Troy High School.”

Schertel said in an email, “I am very humbled to receive this award because teaching Special Education is a huge team effort between staff, students, administration and families. I truly believe an effective Special Education program is a good way to gauge the culture of the school. One of the reasons Troy is so unique is because the community places a big emphasis on relationships—we all work hard to take care of one another.”