Retired teachers group honors two in WCSD

The Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees has given the Lauretta Woodson Award to two staff members of the Warren County School District for the first time.

Clay Hayes, sixth-grade mathematics instructor at Youngsville Elementary Middle School, and Sherry Hagberg, teacher’s aide at Sugar Grove Elementary School, were recognized for exhibiting creativity, initiative and productivity in the learning process and the growth of children during the Warren County School District board of directors meeting on Monday.

Hayes was nominated by Youngsville Elementary Middle School Principal Eric Mineweaser.

“His welcoming classroom has provided students the opportunity to feel comfortable and eager to learn the past several years,” Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Gary Weber said, reading a statement for Mineweaser who was unable to attend the meeting. “For example, since administration decided to move Mr. Hayes into the sixth-grade mathematics position, student standardized test scores improved drastically. In one year Mr. Hayes’ students showed a growth of 34.5 percent proficiency rate between the 2012 and 2013 PSSA scores. His creative teaching style…proves that students, that all students, can learn. Each and every day I hear how students enjoy his teaching style.”

“I’m curious, what drew you into education?” Arthur Stewart, board president, asked Hayes.

“I was looking for a profession that I could work with people and create a positive change in a person’s life,” Hayes said, adding he had originally started out as a biology major. Hayes talked about doing something you love as a profession with roommates and later read a study that said school-age children smile on average 400 times a day.

“So I knew I wanted to work with children,” Hayes said. “I was just drawn to that potential to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Eisenhower Middle School Principal Marcia Madigan nominated Hagberg and said she has been employed by the WCSD for 29 years and will start her 30th year this September.

Hagberg said she loves to “go in and seeing those children every day and their different needs. And every day is different, you never know, it’s never the same. I really enjoy working with the teachers and all the students…it’s been my life and it’s been a good one.”

“Sherry is not being honored tonight though for her years of service, but for her professional mannerism that she displays on a daily basis. Sherry is considered an education aide, but I would like to tell you what she really adds to the educational environment,” Madigan told the board. “Sherry is a well respected, flexible, dedicated professional and is committed to support and promote the best educational opportunities for our students. I mentioned flexibility as one of Sherry’s characteristics. She’s always willing to work with all students and teachers, she volunteers to do those extra things like stay late with me when the buses are running late or a child misses the bus.”

Madigan said Hagberg shows dedication on a daily basis and is “willing to step in at a moment’s notice to cover as a nurse, secretary or me.”

“Even when Sherry’s husband was very ill, she was concerned with her ability to do her job as best she could, which she did and was still very supportive of the rest of the staff and students. I also mentioned professionalism, because Sherry goes above and beyond what is expected of an education aide. Sherry volunteers her time and attends teacher professional development. I know that when we switched our reading and science program there was Sherry. ‘May I attend those training so that I know what were doing with those new programs.’ Absolutely. This illustrates to me this her commitment to the students education and as well to her own which in my eyes make her a life long learner,” Madigan said.

Pat Cronmiller, chairman of the PASR educational support committee, said Lauretta Woodson was a long-time public teacher in Pennsylvania who went on to be an instructor and professor at Temple University. She retired and became a member of PASR and she held many positions within the group.

“When she died, she left a sufficient amount of money to the PASR to recognize excellence to an educator and a support professional in each Chapter of the PASR throughout Pennsylvania,” Cronmiller said. “The two people recognized this year went beyond the norm and were thus recommended by their building principals. They were the first two to be recognized in the Warren County School District. The Warren/Forest Chapter hopes to continue this award.”