For the impact dedication can make

The Classroom Teacher, winter 2014-15

Connie Bagley, 2014 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Winner, Lifetime Achievement Category, Elementary Level

Connie Bagley’s face may be familiar; we featured her in our last winter issue when she was named a finalist for 2014 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Then, in spring 2014, Bagley received another prestigious honor — the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award for Lifetime Achievement, which came with a $25,000 prize and a matching grant for her school, Crockett Elementary in San Marcos CISD. Yes, 2014 was a big year for this award-winning dyslexia specialist, so TCTA recently caught up with her for an update:

Q: What was it like to win two such big awards back to back?

A: It has been an incredible year! I’m still pinching myself. Did this all really happen to me? Teacher of the Year was recognition that came from my peers and colleagues, and that makes it significant. To also have the public and business community acknowledge my work was icing on the cake, no doubt.

Q: What has been your favorite part of the H-E-B award selection process?

A: The best part is that it has given me a platform to discuss and educate Texas on dyslexia and the unique individuals who are dyslexic. I continue to receive inquiries from parents and teachers who are eager for information.

Q: The H-E-B award was for “lifetime” achievement, and with 40-plus years in the classroom, that certainly seems appropriate. How long do you think you’ll teach?

A: I wake up every day still wanting to come to Crockett and work with my kiddos. I feel I still have something to offer. There are still dyslexic learners I want to reach. At this point I’m afraid “they” might have to ask me to leave! I’m wondering if my walker will fit in the elevator if and when the time comes!

Q: Would you mind sharing what you will do with your $25,000 prize? Any fun vacations in the works?

A: Mr. Butt and H-E-B’s generosity is making it possible for me to take my family of 10 to Hawaii to celebrate my son’s marriage. Four generations — a 3-year-old to an 87-year-old — will travel together for an extended vacation.

Q: How will your school spend its prize money?

A: Since I won it because of reading/literacy, my principal, Doug Wozniak, insists it will be spent on devices that will improve and enhance reading skills. … Most of my students do not have mobile devices or Internet access, so these will give them the opportunity to download books at school and read/listen to them at home, therefore keeping pace with their peers.

Q: Is there anything else you want to mention?

A: I’m proud to be a teacher! What we do matters, and it is awesome to receive such recognition for doing something you love!

See also:

Rosbel Peña, 2014 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Winner