Teacher Profiles

Tava Smathers: Profile

I was born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. I earned a BA in French, and moved immediately to Florida so I could work in rock bands, one of my first loves. I actually didn’t expect to begin---or to like---teaching. But I do like kids and enjoy teaching at Corvallis. I have taught French, Spanish, and English at CHS, and am currently the Library Media Specialist, a position that I truly love.

The Heritage Project has had a profound impact upon Corvallis community and the kids who have participated. What a boon for our history! I am also thrilled to be able to update our library reference collection with the generous library grants provided by the Montana Heritage Project.

I am proud to be learning with such dynamic educators as Heritage Project teachers and librarians across the state.

Posted by Tava Smathers on 02/07 at 04:28 PM
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©2005 Montana Heritage Project

She’s Older Than Dirt—Diehl Bio

Julie Diehl is just finishing her second year with the Heritage project.  During her first year, she used her high school drama class as a cross-curricular connection with the high school English classes.  Students did research and retold their information through dramatic script writing and presentation.  This year, with no drama class, Julie is involved more as a “tech supportâ€? person for the English classes.

Julie is in her thirty-second year at Townsend Schools.  With a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in tech ed, she has experience in many grades and subject areas.  She currently teaches seventh and eighth grade language arts and computers and middle school speech and drama.  She continues her work in high school drama by directing the high school plays.

Posted by Julie Diehl on 02/07 at 04:28 PM
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©2005 Montana Heritage Project

From Horseback to Riding a Desk

About me: I am a third generation Montanan with a wide variety of experiences to bring to the classroom.When you get to be my age, you had better have a wide variety of experiences to bring to the classroom.

Family Background: I was born in Billings and raised on a farm and ranch 45 miles northwest of Billings. I am the eldest of eight children, so I guess you could say I’ve been studying child psychology most of my life. Today, my son is reaping the benefits of having a rancher for a grandfather.  He is learning to work cattle and ride just as I did when I was his age.  The values and character that are learned in a rural setting are becoming a part of him, and I am grateful for that.

My wife Natalie and I have been married now for eighteen years and we have one son, Kristopher, and two dogs, Shadow a black schnauzer, and Coco, a German shorthair/Labrador mix.

Life/Work Experience: As I said, I was born and raised on a ranch. I am grateful for the experience since it taught me so much about responsibility and work ethic. I also owned my own business for about a year in which I sold and constructed steel buildings and grain bins. I’ve worked as a bartender, a ranch hand, a newspaper reporter, Musselshell County Weed Supervisor, FSA Field Reporter, and several other part time jobs trying to make a buck or two wherever possible. For the past six years, I’ve also been a member of the Roundup City Council and Musselshell County Weed Board here in Roundup, Montana. I’ve been a teacher of English, history, journalism, career education and school to work coordinator along with several coaching assignments at Roundup High School for the past 20 years.

Education: I received my elementary and secondary education at Lavina Public Schools. I graduated from there in 1976. I started my post-secondary education at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming, but decided after one semester that I already knew everything they could possibly teach me and quit school. After a year and a half of fighting drought and then the worst winter in nearly 50 years, I decided there had to be a better way to make a living and went back to school at Montana State University-Billings and earned a Bachelor of Science in History and English in 1982.  At present I am completing a Masters in Technology Education from Boise State University.  If my studies go as planned I will finish my degree work during in during the summer of 2005.

Heritage Education: Getting involved in Heritage Education fundamentally changed my view of how education works.  Interviews with community elders (or as my partner Tom Thakeray says: persons of experience), have motivated my students in ways that cannot be put into words.  Each year I treasure the time I spend with my colleagues in the project, and the students that I work with because I am continually pushed to be better at what I do.  Thank you to all involved in the project from top to bottom.

Posted by Tim Schaff on 02/07 at 04:28 PM
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©2005 Montana Heritage Project
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