Montgomery named Dispatch/Argus Master Teacher

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

Barb Montgomery of Cambridge was named a Dispatch/Argus Master Teacher this spring and honored along with the area's other Master Teachers at a May 2 banquet at the i wireless center, Moline.

Montgomery is devoted to her students and to the concept of learning in general.

In Cambridge, she has worked with female inmates at the county jail towards getting their GED.

Knowing that parents who are incarcerated can't avail themselves of the Toys for Tots program, she enlisted the help of an educational sorority of which she is a member and arranged for 35 children of jail inmates to receive winter coats.

She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma International Teacher Society, PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization), scholarship committee for the Quad City Illini Club and the staff fund at United Township.

She is also a Red Cross volunteer, a volunteer tutor for the Life program at Black Hawk College and a co-sponsor of Authentic Voices at United Township.

In her classroom, she brings in Skills, Inc. twice a year to help students try out their job interview skills.

She also goes out and works alongside them—for four years, she has worked with her students in the dietary department at Illini Hospital for part of a day, getting experience at various work stations.

“All work has value and all work is important,” she stressed.

She has written grants to be able to take students to places such as Circa 21 and the Figge art museum, Maquoketa Caves and ice-skating.

She has driven them to participate in the state level Special Olympics competition at Illinois State University, Normal.

Montgomery also helps her students learn to use the city bus.

Last year she gave up birthday gifts to encourage teen books be given to libraries.

When one of her students needed brain surgery, she took the lead and was interviewed for a newspaper article about a fund raiser for the girl.

Virtually since the start of the war in Iraq, she has mailed books and toiletries to soldiers in Iraq. The first head nurse there with whom she corresponded was one of three people who nominated her for the Master Teacher award. (She is also raising money for books for a new Wounded Warriors Center at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas.)

She subsequently got involved with FIST (Families in Support of our Troops), and another person who nominated her is a member of that group.

The third person who nominated her for the award helped her in Geneseo last 4th of July where they had a tent to let people write letters to soldiers and donate for toiletries.