The Educator of the Year award’s purpose is to recognize an outstanding Wyoming educator who demonstrates excellence in education by implementing innovative agriculture and natural resource projects into their classroom and surrounding community.
A fourth generation Wyoming native, Mrs. Hellbaum's great grandfather was the oldest of seven sons to move to southeast Wyoming in 1919 to begin farming. Much of her family's wheat farm still remains in the Romsa family, nearly 100 years later under the dedicated caretaking of her parents and her two brother's families.
Upon graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1981 with degrees in Elementary Education and Business, respectively, Diane and her husband Rob returned to his family’s farm northeast of Chugwater. Mrs. Hellbaum has taught music and elementary grades for the past 26 years at the Chugwater School where she enjoys finding opportunities to bring agriculture into the classroom. Blessed with three beautiful children, they have grown to be in education as well as agriculture. Sharing her love of farm life with their four young grandchildren is the icing on the cake.
In her application Diane commented, “As a classroom teacher, it is my desire to plant seeds of wonder in my students regarding the very basics of life. What better place to start than with the topic of seeds? So, it is with resolve and responsibility to my young students that I have chosen this tiny wonder of the world to grow their minds and imaginations.” Mrs. Hellbaum believes that life is a classroom, and agriculture is the best teacher of all. She is excited about the future of agriculture for the next generation, and is eager to encourage them. Mrs. Hellbaum plans to invest this award into projects for the students and community benefit.