Mitch Hirt, a 12-year educator and currently a seventh-grade math teacher at Irving Middle School, was recently named Teacher of the Month by the Lincoln East Rotary Club and U.S. Bank.
Irving Principal Jason Shanahan commented that as a previous English and physical education teacher, he could benefit from taking a math class from Hirt.
“Mitch is a fantastic math teacher,” Shanahan said. “He holds students to a high standard of academic rigor and behavioral accountability. At the same time, Mitch balances his high expectations with a caring and supportive rapport.
“He goes beyond teaching of prealgebra and math,” Shanahan added. “He cares about his students’ development of character. We have an Irving Community Outreach Program, and Mitch’s leadership is very essential to the success of the program.”
Instead of selling items such as candy bars, magazines or popcorn door to door, Irving students volunteer their time to a community improvement project, Shanahan explained. In turn, family and friends sponsor their efforts with a financial donation.
Outside the classroom, Hirt has volunteered for various community service projects throughout Lincoln, Shanahan said. This volunteer work has included tutoring inmates in prison, working with the elderly at a nursing home, raising money for AIDS research, various school beautification projects, and contributing time and money to the Food Bank of Lincoln.
Born in Wayne, Nebraska, Hirt said he mostly grew up in Lincoln where he attended Prescott Elementary School, Irving Middle School and Lincoln High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire; a master’s degree in accountancy from DePaul University in Chicago; and received his teaching endorsement from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
He began his teaching career in 2006 at Goodrich Middle School in Lincoln.
“I chose teaching as a profession because I enjoy working with young, malleable minds and wanted to have a greater impact on the world and its future,” Hirt said.
Hirt’s wife, Lori, teaches yoga part-time to Nebraska Wesleyan University staff members. The Hirts have two sons: Nathan, 14, a freshman at Lincoln Southeast, and Evan, 13, a seventh-grader at Irving Middle School.
Hirt received $100 each from East Rotary and U.S. Bank, with one of the awards covering the purchase of classroom materials and the other award for his personal use.