Monty Sorensen ’89
Farmer, sheep rancher and biology teacher
In Utah, ranching is a way of life. Just ask Monty Sorensen (M.A. ’89).
In high school, Sorensen spent summers working on his uncle’s ranch. As an undergraduate, he worked for a cattle rancher to keep in shape for football season. When Sorensen married his wife, he married into a ranching family.
“I loved the outdoors, loved the animals, loved being on the mountain, riding horses,” he says. “I didn’t mind doing a lot of manual labor … I kind of fell in love with it.”
Today, Sorensen owns land on a mountain range where he farms and raises sheep. But he also has a day job: high school teacher.
Sorensen joined the faculty at Canyon High School when it opened in 1997 and still teaches biology there today.
“[Teaching] gave me an opportunity to hopefully change kids’ lives and give them an opportunity they might not have been able to get — somebody to encourage them,” he says.
In the classroom, Sorensen combines his passions for teaching, science and ranching. He teaches an agricultural biology class in which he uses the farm and ranch to help his students understand the concepts.
In 2003, he received the District Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2013, Canyon High School named him Teacher of the Year.
“I try to have fun every day I teach. If you were to come into my classroom, the way the kids and I interact is not the normal teacher-student relationship,” he says. “I think that’s been a key thing. The kids know that we’re part of them and they’re part of us.”
Sorensen says his UMKC education was important because it allowed him to experience a much different environment than he grew up in.
“Being around the different professors and studies made a big difference for my teaching in Utah.”