A teacher reads to a class with text: Because of a Teacher

Because of a Teacher

Teachers make an impact every day. From big moments that shift the trajectory of a person's life to small things teachers do to make students feel safe, appreciated, and ready to learn. In order to celebrate these influential teachers and make their impact known, we have launched the Because of a Teacher campaign to share stories that showcase how teachers make a difference in the lives of their students.

While most teachers would agree that their work is rewarding, it is not without its challenges, and a number of factors have caused a teacher shortage across the nation. We hope the Because of a Teacher campaign will ensure current teachers feel valued for their tireless work and that young people will be inspired to become the great teachers of tomorrow.

Watch the videos below to see how educators have altered the course of several distinguished Wyomingites lives and helped build them into the people they are today. We hope you are moved to submit a short video celebrating the influential teacher in your life.


The Teacher She Needed

Because of the struggles she faced as a student with learning challenges, Brittney Montgomery, a 1st-grade teacher at Harrison Elementary in Green River, strives to be the teacher she needed when she was in school.

As a student, Brittney was a social butterfly and struggled to focus. She was also challenged by reading and math and later discovered that she learns best through hands-on activities. In school, she needed someone to teach her in a different way, someone that accepted her for who she was and helped her grow from there.

Although Brittney didn’t receive the support she needed as a student, it only fueled her fire to become a teacher that makes sure all her students feel loved, important, and heard. Most importantly she strives to motivate them into being lifelong learners.

As a teacher, her philosophy is to teach the whole child and to not just focus on the academic piece. Her efforts to ensure she has well-rounded students— socially, emotionally, physically, and mentally— led her to be named the 2022 Wyoming Teacher of the Year.


“When I was in school, you taught it one way, and you either got it or you didn't. We moved on regardless. Something that I keep in the back of my head is to be the teacher that I needed when I was in school.”

“I want to have an impact so that no soul is lost."

Wyoming Teacher of the Year Brittney Montgomery teaches a class

The Life Coach

Tom Burman

UW Director of Athletics


Because of the teachers and coaches who saw potential in him and helped nurture his drive for competition, Athletic Director Tom Burman oversees nearly 150 employees, holds hundreds of events annually, and manages a budget that exceeds $40 million.

In his position at UW, Tom uses lessons he has learned in the classroom and on the practice field to provide guidance for coaches, staff and student athletes to help them move forward in their lives and accomplish their goals. He finds his work especially meaningful when watching kids celebrate and witnessing young people achieve at a high level.

Like many kids, Tom needed a some positive guidance to channel his interests and follow his dreams. His teacher-coaches helped provide the guardrails to keep him on track. Whether it was his high school biology teacher, Dave Tyndall, who inspired Tom to seek out knowledge that would better help him understand his environment, or his basketball coach, Dennis Diehl, who taught Tom how to be disciplined and overcome adversity.

These mentors pushed hard because they saw talent in Tom before he realized it himself. Their "tough love" eventually sank in and instilled in Tom a sense of confidence that he could achieve his dreams and the drive to make them happen.


"It is not just winning and losing. Sometimes it is seeing a person who came to UW that was less prepared for college, leave with a respect for education."


“You cannot be a successful coach without being an excellent teacher”

The UW football team gets hyped before a game




The Social Scientist

Dr. Anne Alexander

UW Vice Provost of Strategic Planning and Initiatives


Because of her teachers, Vice Provost Anne Alexander can see the big picture at UW and put herself in our students' shoes to find ways to improve their experience on campus.

Her current path can be traced back to preparation for a school science fair. For her project, Anne sought to do something other than your typical project on biology or chemistry. She was interested in human behavior, but was unaware of the social sciences. Her science teacher, Ed Hasseloff, handed her a book on the subject and opened her eyes to an entire new field of possibilities. 

Her project made it all the way to the international science fair and this wonderful experience set Anne on a path to become an economist and eventually to UW where she teaches and researches and serves as Vice Provost.

Another influential teacher in Anne's life was her music teacher. Mrs Hanson made a huge impact on Anne's confidence when she told her that she had a beautiful singing voice and encouraged her to join choir.  While performing, Anne gained the courage to push forward, even when your voice cracks. This experience in music class helps Anne speak to important people and large audiences in her role at UW.

Anne's teachers helped her envision possibilities and to this day, where others see barriers, Anne sees opportunities to learn and grow!


"Mr. Hasseloff didn't say too bad, do hard science or else. He said, you know what this sounds like? This sounds like this other thing over here that I don't teach, but it is interesting and here are some resources."


“My teachers helped me envision the possible”

A student celebrates during commencement while holding their diploma



Contact Us:


University of Wyoming College of Education logo

Phone: (307) 766-2230
Email: edquest@uwyo.edu


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