Ruth Chandler Ferris, the librarian at Washington Elementary School in Billings, has been named the Montana History Teacher of the Year.
The award is from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America and comes with a $1,000 honorarium. It also puts her in the running for National History Teacher of the Year and her library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials.
“She works hard for her kids,” said Washington Principal DeeDee Larsen. “She’s an amazing, amazing teacher.”
Ferris was the driving force behind the school’s first Heritage Day, a celebration of Montana and Native American history. She brought in tribal elders for hands-on presentations and exhibits.
“She worked really hard to bring that all together,” Larsen said. “She’s very, very passionate about Montana history.”
Ferris is a past president of the Midland Empire Reading Council and author of many published articles on history, literature and language arts.
“This award provides important recognition for excellent history teachers across the country,” said Lesley Herrmann, executive director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. “It has become a coveted prize for educators.”
Representatives from the institute will present Ferris with the award during a ceremony on Sept. 11, Larsen said.