2019 Teacher of the Year:
Dylan Huisken remembers the first teacher who taught him how to turn knowledge into action, struggles into skills, questions into insight, and a blank page into art. To a struggling reader, this was everything. That feeling of empowerment—the feeling that drove Huisken to pursue a degree in history and education—is the same feeling that he wants his students at Bonner Middle School to feel daily. Huisken has been teaching history for ten years, with his last five at Bonner Middle School. He began his career as a social studies teacher on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where he worked for three years before moving to Missoula to earn his Master of Arts in History from the University of Montana. While at the University of Montana, Huisken taught American and Western history as a teaching assitant and also authored a thesis on the appropriation of the Dakota language by missionaries who sought to assimilate native students. Huisken earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from South Dakota State University, where he also minored in Spanish. In addition to teaching, Huisken helps coach quiz bowl students, advises the school’s student council, and helps families organize fundraisers for the 8th grade’s annual field trip to Washington, DC. Although Huisken teaches eras from the Stone Age to the late 1800s, his biggest passions in the field are Native American history and the abolitionist movement. Favorite subjects aside, Huisken’s biggest passion is fostering a love for history in his students by helping them feel welcomed, curious, and empowered.