One In A Million: Quarter 2 – 2023: Bridget Montoya

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Name: Bridget Montoya

School & District: Flowing Wells High School, Flowing Wells School District

Grade(s) you teach: 9-12th Grades

How many students in your class(es) this academic year? 126

How long have you been a teacher? This is my 21st year

What made you get into the teaching profession? I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I was the little girl who played teacher with friends in the neighborhood growing up. I wanted to be in a profession that makes a difference.

Who was your most inspirational teacher & why? My mom. She became a teacher when I was in 4th grade after going back to school to get her teaching degree. She eventually became a principal before she retired. She often reminded me (and still does) that kids deserve 2nd, 3rd, or more chances.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now? Teacher shortage, perception of teacher roles, large class sizes, school funding.

How do these issues affect your day-to-day? Last year, I didn’t have a plan hour because we opted to split up the classes so that students didn’t have a long-term sub for a missing math teacher. It’s also sad to see public comments on social media posts about what people “really think” about teachers and public schools.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you? It is a nice gesture. As a high school teacher, I don’t often go over that $250 by choice now most years, but as an elementary teacher, I would regularly go over that amount.

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different from reality? I think new teachers don’t realize how much “outside of class” work goes into teaching. It is harder for new teachers to realize how much planning in advance needs to be done, but also with flexibility in mind for the potential for changing plans.

Why do you think, teachers burn out so quickly? I think there’s a lot of negative out there surrounding public perception of what teachers do (or don’t do) which can be draining. I think too there is constant change in how things should be done. There are a lot of “extras” on teachers’ plates. It can also be challenging to meet the social-emotional needs of students while also meeting the demands of teaching the curriculum.

Do you typically feel appreciated or recognized as a teacher? This year… wholeheartedly! I know that my administration appreciates me because they tell me.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty? My family. My hobbies.

What are some of the most thoughtful & effective ways parents & the community can show gratitude? Honestly, a simple email or thank you card.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children? That each child receives the best education with a dedicated teacher. I want them to become well-rounded, thoughtful, productive members of society because of what they learned in their classrooms.


What is/are your FAVORITE…

– Color? Blue or purple

– Food/restaurant? Wild Garlic Grill or El Charro

– Music/group/artist? Kane Brown

– Sport/athletics team? Soccer-Real Madrid, and University of Arizona team

– Pastime/hobby? Soccer, Crafts, Reading, Baking

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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+