This March, University of Arizona Athletics will continue their tradition of honoring a local grade school teacher in southern Arizonal, as their teacher of the year.

There are nine nominees, including Bridget Montoya at Flowing Wells High School.

If you take the education professions class, she’ll be your teacher, teaching you how to be a good teacher.

“Education is my passion, so the education professions program allows me to teach students about my passion,” Mrs. Montoya said. “And it’s a lot of fun to see them finding their passion, even if it’s just something small, like making a connection with a kid.”

Her principal, Jim Brunenkant says its Mrs. Montoya’s connections that make her so effective in and out of the classroom.

“I nominated Mrs. Montoya because,” he explained, “she goes above and beyond her relationships with her kids. Her kids love her. You go into her classroom, the kids are laughing and having a good time and they’re connected. She just makes the kids feel good, and they know that they have a mentor and they have a good role model and they have someone who they can be friendly with.”

By being there for her students, Mrs. Montoya is also inspiring them onto a future path.

“I want to become a person like Mrs. Montoya is,” said her education professions student, Gennesis Ruvalcada. “If I become a teacher, I want to be exactly like the teacher Mrs. Montoya is, because I know what she makes other kids feel. And I would love to make other kids feel like that.>

Mrs. Montoya is also a geometry teacher, and while there’s no exact formula for what makes a great teacher, she seems to have it solved.

“I’d like to think it’s because I work on teaching my students, not just the curriculum,” Montoya said.

We would have to agree.