2019 Teacher of the Year:
Inspired by her grandmother who taught for 42 years, Valerie Bruce knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. With the purpose of helping others learn, sharing curiosities, igniting passions, and aiding children in finding their futures, Bruce began her pursuit at the University of Montana-Missoula. She graduated in May 2009, with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and began teaching first grade in Campbell County School District #1 in July 2009. She then pursued her Masters in Educational Administration from Chadron State College-Nebraska, graduating in May 2017.
Bruce is an enthusiastic educator, champion for students, and a lifelong learner who places relationships as a top priority. Bruce makes sure to greet every student outside the door with a smile and a genuine “How are you?” followed by a warm “I’m so glad to see you today!” Bruce attends extra-curricular activities of students and believes seeing students during soccer, gymnastics, football, karate, rodeos, and wrestling positively impacts student-teacher relationships and strengthens the parent-school connection immensely.
Goal setting and celebrating student growth are an everyday occurrence in Bruce’s carefully cultivated classroom community built on trust, hard work, and a growth mindset. She believes every student can grow, achieve at high levels, and nurturing student belief in themselves is her daily goal. Valerie focuses on fostering a love of reading, inspiring the craft of writing, and thinking about your thinking. Students refer to themselves as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, thinkers, and friends who identify as a group of learners working toward individual goals.