Congrats to teachers

Published 10:27 pm Monday, April 15, 2019

Many people, even those in K-12 education, would shudder at the thought of teaching pre-algebra to eighth-graders.

Eighth-graders are new teenagers with all that brings, and pre-algebra is notoriously incomprehensible for those youngsters just being introduced to the subject. One can almost hear a chorus of students asking “When are we EVER going to need this in real life?”

However, Patricia Waegerle tackles the challenge head-on. Now in her 20th year of teaching, she recently told News-Herald reporter Jimmy LaRoue that she specifically asks to be assigned pre-algebra classes.

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Based on the students LaRoue spoke with, Waegerle’s classes at Col. Fred Cherry Middle School are known for her relationship-building with students and her engaging classwork and activities. One student said, “She treats us like we’re her own kids.” Another student reported that she no longer struggles with math and that Waegerle is understanding when she’s having a bad day.

Waegerle indeed sounds like an excellent teacher. But with true humility, she’ll tell you she doesn’t think she’s the best teacher in the district. She was, however, named the City-Wide Teacher of the Year by Suffolk Public Schools this year.

“I would like to think that the caring I have for the students is representative of how all the other teachers who are great teachers feel about the kids,” she said. “I don’t feel like I have any magic dust or do anything magical other than care about the kids.”

Caring about the kids — that’s what it’s all about.

Waegerle is far from the only honoree during this season. Qua Cummings, an art teacher at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, was named the 2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year, while Ronald Daughtrey, an agriculture education teacher at Lakeland High School, received the 2019 High School Teacher of the Year award. Cassandra Eagan, an English teacher at Lakeland, received the 2019 Rookie Teacher of the Year honor.

Cummings is in her 13th year of teaching and currently teaches art at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School. She is known for her passion for art, her enthusiastic approach to teaching, her compassion, her patience and her encouragement.

Daughtrey is in his 39th year of teaching and instructs agriculture education at Lakeland High School. He’s known for his quiet spirit and commitment to transitioning high school students into future community leaders.

Eagan, an English teacher at Lakeland High School, is known for her calm demeanor, relationship-building and adapting the same content to fit the personality of each of her five classes. She’s also Lakeland’s swim coach.

We know these four are representative of the excellence modeled by all of Suffolk Public Schools’ teachers, and we could not be more proud.