The Mercer Island School District recognized West Mercer Elementary teacher David Baxter, Islander Middle School teacher Danae Burger and Mercer Island High School teacher Bob Sagerson as Teachers of the Year for 2012.
Mercer Island School District Superintendent Gary Plano announced the trio of educators chosen for the honor at the Mercer Island Schools Foundation event on April 24. The teachers received engraved crystal apples and later attended a dinner hosted by the Mercer Island Lions Club where they received further recognition and a $500 personal check.
“I am very proud and honored to work with these outstanding educators,” said Plano.
Secondary teachers were nominated by their colleagues and selected by their principals. At the elementary level, the three principals, along with Kathy Morrison, Director of Elementary Learning Support, talked about who would be the best candidate and made the final selection. Aside from being outstanding educators, the teachers had to demonstrate their commitment to professional growth, community involvement and strengthening the teaching profession. District nominees are eligible to go on to the regional and state competition for Teacher of the Year for 2013.
The following are brief biographies, provided by the MISD, of each of Mercer Island's 2011 Teacher of the Year award recipients:
David Baxter came to West Mercer in 2006 and has taught both primary and upper elementary students. Currently he is teaching 4th grade students in the elementary Highly Capable program (E2). David is highly respected among students, teachers and parents for his innovation, thoughtfulness and dedication to each and every individual in his class. According to West Mercer principal Rich Mellish, “David exemplifies the qualities on our staff team that raise the level of education at West Mercer. He consistently offers his time and expertise to his peers. He provides advice and support for those exploring integration of technology, and does so in a way that honors each individual as a lifelong learner.”
Danae Burger has been teaching 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies at Islander Middle School since 2007. She is known throughout the school community as a master teacher who creates a classroom that pushes kids to excel while helping students discover who they are as learners. Many teachers offered comments about Danae including these: “Continually positive, Danae makes time for anybody and every request (of which there are many) and goes above and beyond to fulfill those requests.” “Even when tired and exhausted, Danae has more energy than most who are on their game.” “By consistently modeling the way, putting herself out there for all to see, and by finding new and improved ways to actively engage all learners, Danae's work and dedication is an inspiration to us all.”
Bob Sagerson first came to teach math at Mercer Island High School in 1992, then left for 11 years to work in private business. Since returning in 2007, he has continued to work with the math team at MIHS and is currently teaching geometry and pre-calculus. Bob’s peers, his students and their parents admire and respect him for his skills as a teacher and his willingness to spend extra time to help students better their understanding of math. According to Jennifer Wright, Bob’s former colleague at MIHS and current Executive Director of Learning and Technology for MISD, “Bob can teach any math to any type of student. He also has the ability to bring the real world into the learning so that students can better connect with the subject. He is a great teacher and a wonderful colleague!”
— Information from the Mercer Island School District