2019 District-Wide Teachers of the Year Surprised

2019 District-Wide Teachers of the Year Surprised
Posted on 03/08/2019

Congratulations to Patricia Waegerle, an 8th-grade math teacher at Col. Fred Cherry Middle School, who has been selected as the Suffolk Public Schools’ 2019 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations also to Qua Cummings of Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, who is the district-wide Elementary School Teacher of the Year … Ronald Daughtrey of Lakeland High School, who is the district-wide High School Teacher of the Year … and Cassandra Eagan of Lakeland High School, who has been selected as the City-Wide Rookie Teacher of the Year.

2019 City-Wide Teacher of the Year

Now in her 20th year of teaching, Patricia Waegerle is known for her enthusiasm, diligence, and instructional leadership at the division and state level.  She teaches Pre-Algebra to 8th-graders, and strives to recognize the vast potential within each student and to help them see it within themselves.  “My students are my children … I am their biggest cheerleader,” she explains.

Her immigrant parents did not graduate from high school, but raised four children “with a strong work ethic and a life that valued education. They spent every spare minute and spare penny making sure we had the opportunity” they didn’t have.  “Their connection to our school and their support of our teachers implanted in me a desire to become an educator.”

At school, Waegerle is known for engaging lessons and student teamwork.  “Whether they are working collaboratively to escape the breakout box, or planning for how to most effectively put a Barbie on a bungee cord and send her down the balcony without hitting her head, we are engaged in real world activities and working together to do it.”  There is some fun mixed in, of course.

She explains that students take charge of their own learning, set their own goals, and thus become intrinsically motivated.  “My students feel they matter, and my students are given a purpose and taught to reach their own goals. My students are taught how to adjust for mistakes.  Mistakes are expected in my classroom.  How can we fix them? I tell my students that it is when mistakes are made that their brain is able to grow and learn.

“If I can give my students self-confidence, I have succeeded,” she adds.

Waegerle is honored to be a part of the state-wide Excellence in Co-Teaching Initiative, and her classroom serves as a demonstration site for other Virginia teachers to visit and see quality co-teaching in action.  Co-teaching is when a special education teacher works collaboratively with a subject-area teacher to share responsibility to help all students achieve, including those receiving special education services.

She also works with the school’s Girls on the Run program, which inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. She volunteers after school twice a week to work with “her girls.”

Her relationships with parents is also outstanding, asking them the first week of school to tell her “in a million words or less” about their child, their hopes, their interests, and their fears.  Families appreciate this opportunity and Waegerle gains some great insight into how to reach her students. “Unfortunately, I teach one of the least glamorous, most hated content areas,” she explains. The first thing parents tell her is that they themselves never understood math, so their child struggles too.  Last year, she helped lead a Saturday tutoring program to provide extra help beyond the school day – which proved very successful.

Waegerle earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron, and her master’s degree from the American College of Education.

(PHOTO: Left to Right, Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney, Ms. Waegerle, Principal Shawn Green)

2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools

Qua Cummings, an art teacher at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, has been named Elementary School Teacher of the Year.  Now in her 13th year of teaching, she is known for her passion for art, her enthusiastic approach to teaching, and her compassion, patience and encouragement.

Teaching art, she has the privilege to work with students for six years.  Developing relationships with her young artists and working to create art once a week means many “graduates” leave with a life-long appreciation of art.  She will also likely be a teacher they remember because of their multi-year interactions.

“My teaching style allows for curiosity, personal expression, and technique,” she explains. “Art provides an outlet for their creativity and self-expression in a unique and personal way.”  Students learn that it is okay to be different and approach a project differently, which builds their self-confidence.

Cummings earned her bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University.

(PHOTO: Left to Right, Dr. Whitney, Ms.  Cummings, Principal Jennifer Conner)


2019 High School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools

Ronald Daughtrey, an agriculture education teacher at Lakeland High School, has been named High School Teacher of the Year.  Now in his 39th year of teaching, he is known for his quiet spirit, his sound reasoning, and his commitment to transition high school students into future community leaders.

“By allowing students to build off the basics that I teach, they put the principles into practice through hands-on activities. Things don’t always work perfectly, but we can all learn from mistakes,” he says. “It is especially rewarding to see students use the knowledge and skills learned in my class to move on to rewarding careers.”

In addition, Daughtrey exemplifies service to the community, which is also an important lesson taught through National Future Farmers of America, an organization which offers skill challenges and leadership opportunities for students.  He serves on the Virginia FFA board of directors.

Daughtrey earned his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech.

(PHOTO: Left to Right, Mr. Daughtrey, Dr. Whitney)

2019 Rookie Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools

Cassandra Eagan, an English teacher at Lakeland High School, has been selected as the City-Wide Rookie Teacher of the Year.  She is known for her calm demeanor combined with powerful classroom management skills, based on building relationships with her students.

One student wrote in the application that Eagan “has a glow that outshines all the teachers in the building.”

The rookie teacher explains that as an English teacher, she connects with students through the craft of writing.  She also adapts the same English 11 content to fit the personality of each of her five classes – a class of introverts, a class of talkers, a class of laid-back learners, a class of dramatics.

Eagan is also Lakeland’s swim team coach – “45 practices, 21 swimmers, 12 swim meets, 4 broken records, and 2 potential state qualifiers later, we built a family.  I could not be prouder.”

Eagan earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

(PHOTO: Left to Right, Assistant Principal Earling Hunter, Ms. Eagan,
Assistant Principal Brenda Ingram, Dr. Whitney)


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