Alice Byrne’s Reagle one of 15 Rodel teacher winners

Anna Reagle, 2016 Rodel Exemplary TeacherAnna Reagle was recently chosen as one of 15 Rodel Exemplary Teachers in Arizona for 2016.

A fifth-grade teacher at Alice Byrne Elementary School, Reagle was named a winner from a group of 24 finalists, which were narrowed down from an even larger group of 42 semifinalists.

She was selected for the honor by the Rodel Foundation of Arizona based on student achievement, effective classroom practices, a recommendation from her principal, and her potential to be a mentor for 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.

As a Rodel Exemplary Teacher, her responsibilities will include mentoring three student teachers over the next two years. With 10 years of experience in education, 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 said. “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.”

While previously teaching in California, Reagle said that she also had the opportunity to have four student teachers in her classroom. Saint Mary’s College of California, the school where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, contacted her to see if she would take on student teachers so that they could learn everything that they were being taught being put into practice, she said.

“I loved the opportunity. … We were really just co-teaching, so I learned a lot and I felt like I was a better teacher just learning from her and reflecting on what I was doing.”

Reagle will be mentoring three student teachers from one of Rodel’s partner colleges: Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University, Rio Salado College, Scottsdale Community College, University of Arizona, and University of Phoenix. She will also receive a $2,500 award — $500 upon being named and $2,000 upon completion of the mentorship commitment.

Reagle currently 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.

In regards to moving to Arizona from California three years ago to continue her teaching career at Alice Byrne Elementary, she said, “I feel really lucky. I don’t think I would have survived if I didn’t end up at such an amazing school. Just the students and the parents and the staff, we’re a really high needs school, but I feel like everyone here works really hard as a team to make sure that all the kids are learning and clothed and fed and doing OK.”

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. The Rodel Teacher Initiative has previously named Exemplary Teachers from Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Coconino counties.

“We know from experience that there is a need for great teachers in every corner of our state,” said Howard Paley, Rodel COO. “Bringing the proven mentorship and professional development model of Rodel’s Teacher Initiative to Yuma is another step toward improving education outcomes across Arizona.”

Since 2004, 167 Rodel Exemplary Teachers have been named from around Arizona and more than 700 Rodel Promising Student Teachers mentored.

“Yuma County has a strong tradition of supporting early career educators,” said Tom Tyree, Yuma County superintendent of Schools. “One of the cornerstones of that effort is mentorship. We have partnered with Rodel to recognize successful Yuma teachers and build upon their experience to ensure future teachers not only begin their careers in Yuma County, but teach here for years.”

While this is Yuma’s first year participating in the Exemplary Teacher program, the county has been a part of Rodel’s Principal initiative since 2012. Similar to the Rodel Teacher program, the Principal initiative partnership has sponsored three Yuma Rodel Exemplary Principals who have mentored 10 Rodel Aspiring Principals as they commit to become successful administrators at or near the beginning of their leadership careers.