The official biography below was current at the time of the award.
Charles Bertsch has been an educator for more than 30 years and has spent the last 19 years teaching fifth grade science at Polson Middle School in School District 23. He has also taught at Thompson Falls Elementary School and Hardin Middle School in Montana.
Mr. Bertsch's love of teaching goes beyond the classroom. His leadership among colleagues has resulted in the schoolwide implementation of weekly notices to parents. He participates in district curriculum committees to improve teaching and learning and hosts the community recorder band performance each year for students, staff, and parents.
Mr. Bertsch's science and robotics club engages students in exciting activities. One day each week after school, he teaches Lego Robotics, a class that featured an electrical engineer from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a guest professor. His students taught other teachers who were interested in bringing the class to their schools, and students continue to attend the class even after they have completed the fifth grade.
When Mr. Bertsch volunteered to assist another teacher at a day-long conference for gifted and talented students, he taught three different classes with 22 students of different ages and capabilities. His easygoing style and love of teaching captivated the students for more than four hours, even when the classes ran simultaneously.
At a six-week summer session for Native American high school students who had difficulties with science, Mr. Bertsch engaged and taught them by enabling them to express their ideas, build models, and work together to solve problems.
Mr. Bertsch has served as a member of the National Science Foundation's Rural Systemic Initiative Steering Committee.
Mr. Bertsch has a B.A. in education and an M.Ed. from the University of Montana. He is a certified elementary school teacher and is certified in elementary curriculum.
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