Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill said it was great to be in Sheridan Tuesday to officially honor Fort McKenzie High School teacher Mick Wiest as Wyoming's 2014 Teacher of the Year. He's now in the running for national teacher of the year.
During the honoring ceremony, the school's students and faculty, along with those from the district's other alternative school, The Wright Place, formed a circle in the gym. The state superintendent then invited those in the audience to share thoughts about how the English and language arts teacher earned the state honor.
Wiest heard himself praised for his classroom and teaching skills and the ways he has helped students live up to their potential, during his four years there. One student said she didn't think she was good in English, until he told her she was great. The school's secretary, Sandra Klocko, described him as being powerful, yet gentle.
After the ceremony, the superintendent shared her feelings about the teacher and how the honor reflects on teachers across the state.
The two did have a chance to talk a bit while walking to his classroom and the parking lot nearby where colleagues had painted a “Mick Wiest” parking space for him in shades of lime green and black – the colors chosen for his English classes.
It was at that point Hill said: “Your students say you're the best.”
His reply? “I honestly can say I haven't worked in a place I've enjoyed more.” He went on to say he tries to make his students curious, just like he is, because so many these days seem to lack curiosity despite all the technology available. “My goal,” he said, “is to waken that curiosity.”