Fifth-grade teacher Anna Reagle was one of three Yuma instructors to make it to the finalist round of Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s teacher recognition program. Twenty-four finalists were selected from a group of 42 semifinalists from across the state. On Nov. 29, a total of 15 instructors will receive the title of 2016 Rodel Exemplary Teacher, including one teacher from Yuma County.
Reagle, currently in her third year teaching at Alice Byrne, was nominated for the honor by Principal Juli Peach. Rodel Foundation of Arizona considers nominations for the initiative based upon an instructor’s student achievement data, effective classroom practices, and potential to be a mentor to future teachers. The program also focuses on recognizing teachers from high needs schools with a free and reduced meal rate of 70 percent or higher.
“I was surprised. I was honored. I was pretty shocked actually,” Reagle said about being selected. “It always feels good to be honored and recognized.”
If Reagle is named a Rodel Exemplary Teacher, her responsibilities would include mentoring three student teachers over the next two years. With 10 years of experience in education as a fifth-grade teacher, Reagle said that she’s excited about the potential opportunity to pass on what she knows to other aspiring teachers.
“It gives teachers a chance to give back and pay it forward,” she commented. “I think it’s valuable. I think teachers get kind of stuck sometimes in what you’re comfortable with and in what you’re doing and I think it’s nice to have a new outlook.”
In response to a question about what inspired her to become a teacher, she explained that she initially wasn’t sure of her decision to go into the field when she began the teaching program at Saint Mary’s College of California.
“For the very first initial class, they place you in a school and I was in a school in Oakland, an inner city school, and I had to tutor a kindergarten student and teach him the alphabet. He knew nothing, he hadn’t had any previous schooling and it was really challenging. I decided while working with him that teaching was the way to go. I loved it.”
Reagle serves on the Personalized Learning Team for Yuma Elementary School District 1. She’s also on the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports Team, a member of the Elementary Science/Science Technology Engineering and Math Cadre for the district, and is the lead teacher for student council on her campus.
At the local level, the Rodel Exemplary Teacher program is part of a new partnership formed between the Yuma County School Superintendent’s Office and the Arizona Community Foundation of Yuma.
Since 2004, 167 Rodel Exemplary Teachers have been named from around Arizona and more than 700 Rodel Promising Student Teachers have been mentored.