Excelling in his element: Chemistry teacher Brent Daly is 2012 Wyoming Teacher of the Year
Campbell County Education Association member Brent Daly has been named the 2012 Wyoming Teacher of the Year. Daly teaches high school chemistry at Campbell County High School-North.
A native of the Gillette community where he grew up on a ranch, Daly was eager to get back to his roots and find a career where he could be close to family. Teaching chemistry is in his blood; his grandmother was a chemistry teacher in Sundance. After attending the University of Wyoming, he returned to Gillette, where he has worked in the same position spanning his entire 18-year career. “It’s pretty special to get to come back here and teach in the community I grew up in.”
With a sly grin, Daly explained how he fell in love with teaching. “I grew up on a ranch, and one way to get out of ranch work came when I applied for a nature study job.”
Daly went on to say that when he was in fifth grade, he attended a nature study summer camp that was run by science teachers over a three-week period for fourth through sixth graders. He enjoyed his experience so much that when he reached high school, he applied to work as an aide at the camp. Unfortunately, that first summer the position of aide had already been filled. But Daly was not to be deterred, as he worked on a volunteer basis. He succeeded in his application the next year and worked as the camp aide for a few summers after that. From that point forward, Daly knew he could combine two of his passions: science and teaching.
Daly, a 17-year member of the WEA, has a very humble demeanor that is noted by superiors and colleagues alike. “Mr. Daly is just of the personality that he wouldn’t brag about himself under any capacity,” said Campbell County District #1 Superintendent, Dr. Richard Strahorn. “He’s of the personality that he goes to work every day, he makes that job happen, he makes those kids learn. They are very willing learners in his classroom. He’s a class act.and someone we will brag on because he won’t brag on himself.”
On his own accomplishment as the 2012 Teacher of the Year, Daly couldn’t help but use the word “humbled” several times. He also went on to say, “I work in a building with a lot of really great teachers. So to be selected just among those educators is a true honor. I hope I can represent those people and the other nominees for the Teacher of the Year well because they do such an outstanding job. It really is a very humbling honor.”
While excelling in the classroom, Daly is also dedicated to a number of extracurricular activities which he either sponsors or co-sponsors, including the Science Olympiad, Wyoming Academic Challenge, Science Bowl, Knowledge Masters, and student council. He has also been involved in a number of other activities in the past, such as rocketry, robotics, and knowledge bowls.
“Teaching is a job that you have to really enjoy,” Daly said. “It’s the time you get to spend with kids that really makes it so rewarding. The field of teaching today isn’t going to be the same as what it will be in ten years. But the constant is the kids. If you go into teaching to work with kids and help them discover and learn, you’ll love your job no matter what.”
The Teacher of the Year for each of the state’s 48 school districts received a $1,000 award. From this pool, state finalists were selected, with the winner being chosen by a panel of parents, teachers and legislators. As the statewide Teacher of the Year, Daly received a $5,000 award.
In addition to being the 2012 Teacher of the Year, Daly is also a National Board Certified Teacher.
Daly concludes, “I get to teach really neat kids. I get to teach kids that are motivated, that are bright, that are looking for challenges, and this is really enjoyable. It makes my job really great.”