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Hellgate teacher named Missoula High School Educator of the Year

Milton Zhinin-Barreto
Posted at 10:19 AM, Jan 13, 2023

MISSOULA - The Missoula Education Foundation (MEP) has announced their Missoula High School Teacher of the Year.

Students, staff, and parents in Missoula County had the chance to nominate teachers who they felt were worthy of the honor.

Chosen from many worthy applicants, Milton Zhinin-Barreto — a Spanish teacher from Hellgate High School — was surprised with the apple-shaped award and check for $1,000 on Thursday morning.

Community members said that Milton puts his whole heart into his work. They mentioned that Milton stands out for the ways in which he infuses his personality into his lesson plans. He wants to make sure that his content is interactive and accessible to all. Additionally, people shared that he is steadfast in his commitment to making sure his students succeed at Hellgate and beyond.

It was mentioned that Milton goes above and beyond by practicing giving his lectures after school hours by lecturing to his cat and dog.

Originally from Ecuador, Milton says education changed his life as well as his family's. He believes anyone can create the life they dream of having thanks to access to education in the United States. Milton was touched by the community's recognition; he shared with MTN that his year has officially been made.

"Sometimes I push students to try for something that they think is not worth it, like applying for colleges that are very competitive," Milton said. "And when I get a comment from them saying that like 'oh, you pushing me to be part of the student body or to be at the front of this project and I put that in my application and now I am in this very competitive school'. [It] is really, really the most amazing feeling to me that maybe somebody else is going to change their life because of education.

As one educator gets his well-deserved recognition, nominations for Middle School Educator of the Year are now beginning.