It was with the encouragement of teachers, family, and friends that Ron Manook decided to pursue a career in education. He taught art at West Valley High School in Fairbanks. Mr. Manook said that he became a teacher, in part, to increase the presence of Native American role models in education. He understood the "feelings of isolation and bitterness that I see in a great many students, both Native and non-Native," and in his classroom he worked to build hope. Mr. Manook was a firm believer in equal opportunity for all. "I believe that all people should be entitled to a quality education," he said.