Remarkable people, remarkable work

Today found me and photographer Michael Gallacher at the Early Learning Preschool at Jefferson School to interview Janice Nugent, who has been a speech therapist with Missoula County Public Schools for 41 years and is retiring in June.

Nugent has raised five children; advocated for people with disabilities; takes care of her brother, who has Down Syndrome, during summers; and earned her PhD in special education in 2011 at the age of 61. (“I wanted to prove that I could,” she said about writing a dissertation.)

After our interview, we followed her into a classroom, where she worked with a small group of students — in a coat closet.

The location seemed appropriate, she said good-naturedly.

“Speech therapists never have rooms,” she said.

It just reminds me how amazing the quality of work is that Nugent and others are able to do with limited resources.


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Students choose Big Sky HS social studies teacher for excellence award

This here is Cameron Johnson:

KURT WILSON/Missoulian

KURT WILSON/Missoulian

Johnson is a social studies teacher at Big Sky High School, and he was just voted the 2013 Exceptional High School Educator by his students.

The Montana Education Foundation Student Board choose him for the honor, but Johnson was quick to share the love:

“This is a huge honor, especially coming from students,” Johnson said. “But I truly believe that I am just a representative of the incredible teaching staff here.

“There are so many great teachers here, and so many great teachers in the district.”

In that case, congratulations to all – Johnson and his fellow teachers, and all their lucky students!

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