And the BEA EDDY Award winner is…
Ah, the end of the school year. A time when students start their summer of fun and activities and also a time for teachers, administrators, and para-professionals to recharge their batteries for September. But at the end of every school year, another important thing happens.
One of Blue Earth Area’s non-certified staff members receives the EDDY?Award on behalf of the Blue Earth Area Education Association. The EDDY?Award, the school’s play on the Oscars of Education, goes to a non-certified staff member who “goes above and beyond to help with the education of Blue Earth Area students.”
This year Jean Wagner, a special education paraprofessional who works at BEA’s elementary school, was chosen for the EDDY award.
“I just don’t know what to say, I was completely caught off guard” says Wagner, who has been working at BEA?for 11 years. “I truly am humbled by this award.”
As fellow staff members, teachers, and other BEA professionals approached Wagner for hugs and congratulations at their end-of-the-year ceremony, Wagner’s words became fewer and fewer as her smile grew larger.
“She knew she was nominated,” says sixth grade science teacher Becky Anderson. “But, she didn’t know she had won until she accepted the award.”
When it comes to her job, Wagner says it is important to strike a balance with her students.
“I truly enjoy working with the children that I get to work with, and some days it requires a lot of patience and understanding, but when you use those tools, the reward of helping the student’s education comes back ten fold,” says Wagner.
While accepting her award, she was described by fellow team members as “a joy to work with,” and Wagner was also considered as someone who “does a great job working with students. She keeps them on task and encourages them to succeed. She also volunteers to help with whatever is needed in the classroom. Jean works hard and treats all students and adults with respect. She is a positive asset to BEA Schools.”
As for the nomination process, all staff members are encouraged to nominate non-certified staff members for the EDDY award in April. The nomination process is open for about two weeks, and after the nominations have been received, the nominees are added to a document and sent out to the entire staff at BEA to vote on.
“We have always announced the EDDY winner at the program after the end of the year breakfast,” says Anderson. “The Blue Earth Area Education Association gives this award each year because we feel it is important to recognize all people, not just teachers, within our district that help to educate our students. It is our way of thanking those who go above and beyond to make connections with students and help them to learn and grow.”
Something that Wagner certainly has.
“I’ve never met a more compassionate individual,” said last year’s EDDY?Award winner, Leann Hendrickson.
“Totally deserving of this award, hands down,” said BEA teacher Sara Albright.
“She is kind to everybody and is so kind-hearted,” added Anderson.
As for Wagner, she says she will continue to do her work the same as she always has. And, as for future EDDY?Award winners, she gives sound advice.
“Continue, always continue,” she says. “When things look difficult or you meet a challenge, face it head on with patience and kindness. It may be difficult, but it is so rewarding to see the outcome of your efforts and you really notice a change in the students when you are able to connect with them,” says Wagner.