2006.09.03: September 3, 2006: Headlines: COS - Peru: Special Education: Awards: Disabilities: Theeagle.com: Peru RPCV Maureen Haggerty honored for her exceptional efforts as a special education teacher

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Peace Corps Peru: The Peace Corps in Peru: 2006.09.03: September 3, 2006: Headlines: COS - Peru: Special Education: Awards: Disabilities: Theeagle.com: Peru RPCV Maureen Haggerty honored for her exceptional efforts as a special education teacher

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Peru RPCV Maureen Haggerty honored for her exceptional efforts as a special education teacher

Peru RPCV Maureen Haggerty honored for her exceptional efforts as a special education teacher

But it was Haggerty's experience before landing in the Brazos Valley that most helped shape her as a teacher, she said. After completing college, the Tennessee native joined the Peace Corps in 1971 and served as a teacher during the years following a disastrous earthquake in Peru.

Peru RPCV Maureen Haggerty honored for her exceptional efforts as a special education teacher

College Station teacher honored for her exceptional efforts

By LAURA HENSLEY
Eagle Staff Writer

Caption: South Knoll Elementary School special education teacher Maureen Haggerty was named the Region VI Teacher of the Year. It was the second consecutive year that a teacher from CSISD has won the award.Eagle Photo/Butch Ireland

A student lifted his head up to Maureen Haggerty and grinned widely to show her he had lost his first tooth. Another learned to control tremors caused by cerebral palsy.

Those are some of the hundreds of triumphs - some large and others small - that the College Station teacher recalls having witnessed during her 30 years as an educator. Each one has motivated her to challenge students further to be their best despite perceived limitations, she said.

That outlook helped the veteran teacher recently earn the title of Region VI Teacher of the Year, beating out educators from 56 school districts in 15 counties.

"I see teaching basically as a religion," she said. "You help your fellow man. That's where I'm operating from."

Haggerty has taught special education for six years at South Knoll Elementary School in College Station. Before that, she taught in Bryan schools for 15 years.

But it was Haggerty's experience before landing in the Brazos Valley that most helped shape her as a teacher, she said. After completing college, the Tennessee native joined the Peace Corps in 1971 and served as a teacher during the years following a disastrous earthquake in Peru.

She also lived and worked as a teacher in a remote part of Africa for seven years.

"As a teacher, I learned a lot [in Peru and Africa], but I learned even more as a person," she said. "In the U.S., you have pockets of poverty. In other countries you have pockets of richness. Most people live in poverty. It just opened my eyes to the advantages we have in the United States."

As a special education teacher, Haggerty works with students who have a range of learning and physical difficulties, including Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia and cerebral palsy. But after working in places such as Peru and Africa, where students lived in grass huts and were forced to share the family's only sweater, Haggerty believes anything is possible through education.

"Everyone has value despite their abilities," she said. "You are born in a certain package, and you just work with it. I choose to say, 'We can see what we can do.'"

This is the second consecutive year College Station schools have produced the top teacher in the region. Haggerty will now compete for Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year - the highest honor that the state awards teachers.

But awards don't drive Haggerty, she said, explaining that it's the experiences she has every day with students that give her inspiration.

"I'm doing what I do. I have chosen teaching as a vocation," she said. "I just try to go the extra mile for my students."

Laura Hensley's e-mail address is laura.hensley@theeagle.com.




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Story Source: Theeagle.com

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Peru; Special Education; Awards; Disabilities

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