Craig's entry into teaching 20 years at Billings Central High School
One day after "subbing" at Castle Rock, where he helped a Special-needs student in the Computer Apps class, while driving home he viewed the Exxon Refinery, and recalled how workers there often said "another day, another dollar". Craig realized he made a real difference for that kid at school; and finding secondary grades his preference, with encouragement by teachers at lunch-times, convinced Mr. Pierson to enter the "Teaching as a Second Career" program in 2000 at MSU-B. He earned the M.Ed. a year later.
In the fall of 2001 Mr. Pierson was hired by Tom Sprigler, Principal at Billings Central Catholic H.S. to teach Chemistry, and in 2016 Pierson received the BCS Educator of the Year Award. Craig is proud of the accomplishments of his former students - ranging from passing the AP exam, to careers in live theater performance, elementary education, engineering and medicine. He also donates countless hours volunteering at the school, repairing interior walls, and summer 2015 he refaced a derelict-looking boiler-house at the high school. Craig has finally put away the figure skates, donated the kayak to the Scouts, no longer travels to the Columbia Gorge for windsurfing, but still enjoys cross-country and downhill skiing, including hike-to skiing, summers in the Beartooth Mountains.
Staff and student notes of appreciation for Mr. Pierson at Central High School
Kathleen Hanley- piano accompaniment (Bach C major Prelude) at Mass for Craig and MaryAnn hand-bell duet "Ave Maria" by Gounod -fall 2002
Thank-you for making it possible for me to miss so much school. Visiting colleges was a very important experience and enlightened me on what I want for the future. Skiing at Jackson Hole was something I will never forget and so was sitting 1st chair viola at AA Music Festival. Thank-you very much for your patience.
Always, Kathleen Hanley
You are the real Mr. Ram. You called me that all year long, however the reality is that YOU were the real Mr. Ram. You were so kind to me from the start, in Mass when you invited me to sit with the staff. Your invitation to ski, your support for me w/ the wolves. Thank you for being so nice to me!! I will miss you!!
Thank you, Steve Nieto Athletic Director 2014-15
Dear Mr. Pierson, "I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for me. Your influence on my life will be with me as long as I live. Thanks for all the time and effort you have put in to make me a better chemistry student and a better human being. I am forever in your debt."
God bless, John Pankratz - 2010
Craig, w/vuvuzela celebrating w/ State Champs 2011
Sheldon Hanser's thanks for Pierson's gift to brother's illness benefit fund
On behalf of Shawn, Melanie, and their children I want to thank you for your prayers & support. Your generosity is humbling and overwhelming. You are such a good person and I am so thankful you are in my world. There are no words to describe what your care and concern mean during this time. You are appreciated!
Thank You & God bless-
Pencil art gift to Pierson by Samantha Bodden in 2012
Dear Mr. Pierson,
Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher and supporting me in all ways from school to music to athletics. You have made an impact on my life and I will be forever thankful for you. Thank you again. - - George Beddow - - 2016
This is truly the first year I've experienced having a teacher who I think has the best way of teaching. I normally dread walking into my classes, but I really look forward and get excited about your class every single day. Thank you for everything you do and help us achieve. Your class is one that I know I'll have a hard time parting with, but thanks to you I'll walk away with a smile and the Periodic Table memorized! Thank you!
- - Camille Ball 2016
Thank you for the meaningful Parent-teacher conference - we appreciate all the time, effort and 'heart' you put into your teaching! We are very thankful that you are teaching Emile this year as we transition into Montana living. - - Marmie and Francois Morin - parents of Emile 2016
In Choir, we were allowed to write to teachers having an impact on us. Your instruction, both in Honors and AP Chem, has been exceptionally helpful and I am very honored to have you as a teacher. I think I have learned more in this past year, completing Honors Chem, than in any other science course in my life. I am motivated to continue AP Chem this semester. Not only have I discovered an unforeseen passion for science, but also for producing quality work. Thank you so much. - - Sincerely, Dani Gnecco 2016
I would like to say thank you for all that you have taught me this year so far. I have learned more from you in one semester than I do from some teachers in a lifetime. Thanks for pushing me to be a better student, and an overall better man. I owe you my thanks and gratitude. I can't wait for another great semester with you. Happy Holidays! - - Love, Garrett Button Dec 2020
Citation for C. Pierson's award, by K. Harris
Our final award is for the 2016 BCS Educator of the Year. This award is increasingly difficult to decide each year, as we look around at the amazing staff teaching our children. This year alone there were 26 nominations for educator of the year, a clear sign that our schools are filled with exceptional educators. The nominations that came in for this year's educator of the year were overwhelming. They came from fellow teachers and staff members, parents and students. This man is an educator whose passion in the classroom knows no measure. His depth of knowledge of the subject matter is matched by his commitment to ensuring that students in his classroom truly understand the content.
His support for our school is unmatched, as he throws his passion behind every student, every athletic team, every activity and every event with equal spirit. His dedication to the school goes far beyond the classroom. He spends his free time and summers off volunteering and making improvements to the facility. He does not need to be asked - he sees a need and he fills it, he sees a problem and fixes it - all without any need for thanks or recognition.
One nomination said it best, "I would like to give him grateful thanks for teaching all four of our children over the course of sixteen plus years, and successfully transferring his enthusiasm and deep understanding of subject s that I never even consider ed exploring into positive learning experiences that have broadened and expanded their horizons, opening doors to new opportunities and possibilities. We are truly blessed to have someone of his caliber on our teaching staff."
In honor of the 2016 Educator of the Year I will say, "Go Rams!", and proudly award Dr. Craig Pierson the 2016 Educator of the Year Award.
Chemistry teacher Pierson wins Billings Catholic Schools Educator of the Year Award
By MIKE KORDEN BROCK email@example.com Feb 3, 2016 Gazette Staff
Billings Catholic Schools 2016 award winners include Jean Tenge Jacques, left, Rita Turley, Dr. Craig Pierson, Dennis Sulser and Tra Neary.
At a reception Wednesday after an all-schools Mass and annual awards ceremony, at which four people were recognized for their work with Billings Catholic Schools, one bespectacled face was notably absent. Dr. Craig Pierson, a Central High Chemistry teacher and the 2016 Billings Catholic Schools Educator of the Year, was already back at work in his second-floor classroom. He was packing for the school's Discovery Night, an open house for prospective students and their families scheduled to take place that night in the gym. "He just takes it on himself to do whatever needs to be done," Harrington said. "He's the spirit of Billings Catholic Schools."
When asked about his display, Pierson slipped naturally into educator mode while pulling out bottles of gasoline, alcohol and water, followed by chemistry models, a strip of rabbit fur and a metal rod. After setting up the burets to release their liquid in a vertical stream, Pierson intended to rub the metal rod on the rabbit fur, creating a positive charge that would pull liquids with oxygen molecules, like alcohol and water, toward the rod and elicit no reaction from substances without, like gasoline. Pierson called it "chemistry magic," but it's not magic that his students mentioned when asked about the person who had received the loudest cheers earlier.
Senior Jade Harrison had Pierson for seventh period chemistry when she was a sophomore. "He's super fascinating and enthusiastic with every subject he lectures about," Harrison said, recalling how Pierson would break out class with a cheer of "Go Rams Chem 7." Nels Mork, a junior in Pierson's Advanced Placement chemistry class also noted Pierson's energy. "He really loves his subject, and he shows that in his teaching."
Pierson began as a substitute teacher in School District 2 before other educators encouraged him to get his master's in education at Montana State University Billings. For 15 years now, he has taught at Central High. Pierson also holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Montana. He said watching students grow, including those who struggle with chemistry, keeps him excited and committed to education. Billings Catholic Schools president Shaun Harrington said the students notice. "When they see someone work that hard for them, they appreciate it," Harrington said.
By Mike Kordenbrock- Billings Gazette 2-3-16
Central High Safety shower tiled by Craig (left)
Moles by Pierson's students (right)
Central High Ski Club trip to Jackson Hole Feb 2014
Lifetime ski 500,000 Vertical Feet, by year
Each was 3 ski days at Jackson Hole, WY
Air Conditioner with added ducting by NorPac and a UV sanitizer by Odor Stop
Aluminum-tape lined poster-board plenum for the air conditioner by C. Pierson
Pierson's classroom A/C fitted with his design Coronavirus- killing UV light treatment