As a professional high-tech consultant and trainer, I know what it takes to teach new and often complex concepts to a dynamic group of individuals. At least I thought I did, until I met Ms. Hagen. Her third grade class may not realize now that they have one of the greatest educators I have ever encountered. Taking time to volunteer, I have seen her classroom evolve from being divided into full fledge ecosystems, to teaching the students about the Native Americans who lived in each ecosystem, to what they wore and ate, then transition into the value and importance of eating healthy food. I have then got to witness the children take on a challenging art project drawing the healthy food then studying the ingredients. There is never a dull moment in her classroom and the kids are always eager to be there and attentive. She takes advantage of every moment she is in the classroom and treats it as if she may never have a chance to inspire the children like she did today!
I have personally seen her dress as an Indian princess, teach the children a drum dance, and extend herself to a student’s family that lost a sibling, all while teaching the children how important it is to be active and contribute to the community by being there in time of need. She is always upbeat, has the most pleasant demeanor, and is always searching for a new way to extend what she is teaching the children. She has inspired my daughter to work harder and to remember that learning can be fun and rewarding. She takes the time to work with students that need an extra boost and challenges the students who are excelling. Her genuine regard for each child is evident all the while helping the class understand what it is like to work together as a group to be the best they can be.
Her gift to the children far outreaches the Utah Core Curriculum and extends way beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Each of the children in the class know they are special and look forward to the time they have to spend each day in third grade. The countless number of hours she spends outside of the normal school day shines through in her preparation and presentation to the students. Though she often flies under the radar and does not make much over all she does for her students, without question, Bonnie Hagen has represented herself as a model teacher and deserves to be recognized as one of the finest educators in the state.
-V. Lee Henson