Helena schools name Teachers of the Year

Published 2:24 pm Monday, October 19, 2020

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By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA — Schools in the city of Helena recently recognized one teacher from each campus to highlight as their “Teacher of the Year” for going above beyond to educate and inspire students.

At Helena High School, Social Studies teacher Anita Lewis was picked for the honor.

“Simply put, Mrs. Lewis is an outstanding teacher,” HHS Principal April Brand said. “She has the ability to connect with students and help them see the relevance of past events to current ones. As a result of taking her class, students become critical readers, critical thinkers, and well-rounded individuals.”


Brand praised Lewis as a shining example of leadership and instruction, and commended her for the impact she has made on the lives of all of her students, many of who have gone into the teaching profession as well.

“Beyond her knowledge of History and instructional practices, Mrs. Lewis is the embodiment of a caring and committed educator who is admired by students and colleagues alike,” Brand said.

First grade virtual learning instructor Meghan Handley was honored as Helena Elementary’s teacher of the year. Principal Mary Anderson commended Handley’s commitment to her students even from a distance.


“Mrs. Meghan Handley was selected by her fellow colleagues to represent our school as our Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021. She is teaching virtually this year, and she has done an outstanding job taking on this new format of teaching,” Anderson said. “She is very knowledgeable about technology and the first grade curriculum, so she is doing a great job.  She always has a smile on her face and seems to really enjoy working with children.”

At Helena Intermediate, Kaitlin McGuirk, who works in resource, was selected for the honor. Principal Kathy Paiml spoke highly of her, praising her daily efforts.

“Kaitlin was nominated by her peers. They say it better than I could, but I agree with every word. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and caring teacher at Helena Intermediate,” Paiml said.

Several of her peers shared remarks on what makes her a great teacher, sharing the following thoughts:

“Kaitlin always advocates and loves her students so well. She walks in every day with a smile and a fresh start, no matter what the day might hold. She will step in and help whenever she can. She shows love and patience daily.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked with another teacher who has cared so much about putting everyone else before herself like Kaitlin does. Kaitlin is a light to everyone around her.”

“Kaitlin is a joy to work with and you can tell she loves the children she teaches. She always has their best interests at heart. I love how she works with Special Olympics, the bowling league, and volunteers with the special needs children at church. She definitely takes her job very seriously and would be amazing as teacher of the year.”


Helena Middle School honored Chad Sorrells, who teaches math for seventh grade.

HMS Principal Andrew Gunn noted Sorrells dependability and the honor that he displays with everything he does.

“Mr. Sorrells has made a dynamic impact on our school in the past 4 years that he has been here. He has earned the trust and respect of his colleagues by stepping up to help whenever possible,” Gunn said. “Over the course of the past year, he has used his technological expertise to support his colleagues as we were unexpectedly thrust into an online learning environment. Many of us agree that we don’t know what we would have done without him.”