Barbara Hart noticed something was a bit out of the ordinary while attending the 2019 Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association Spring Conference held last month in Kearney.
As a presenter at the conference began reading the career background and accomplishments of this year’s Outstanding Elementary Teacher Award recipient, Hart said it sounded a bit familiar.
“They started talking and I thought ‘boy, I didn’t think there were that many teachers here, and yet there’s another person who’s doing the same job I am.’ And they got down to talking about things like summer camp and media specialist, and I went ‘ Oh my gosh, they’re talking about me.’ It was 30 seconds before they said my name that I figured out that they were giving it to me,” Hart said.” It was quite a surprise.”
For 26 years the educator has worked for David City Public Schools. As the district's elementary media specialist, she manages libraries at David City Elementary and Bellwood Elementary, along with teaching several daily reading classes. Hart also helps manage the school's Ipads and computers and runs three-weeks worth of summer camps teaching students computer coding, robotics and crime scene investigation.
After being announced as the award's recipient, Hart was called on stage to give a speech while joined by a special guest, her husband, Carl. Out of about 30 teachers across the state who were recommended by school administrators for the special recognition, it was Hart who the they picked as this year’s Outstanding Elementary Teacher.
“There are lots of teachers, even on our staff, who are as deserving as I am. I guess that’s why I was so surprised to have been singled out," Hart said. "It was quite an honor because we’ve got a lot of people who do an excellent job and really care about kids.”
Hart has taught everything from kindergarten through eighth grade highlighting a variety of subjects from her time as a teacher. David City Elementary School Principal Ernie Valentine described Hart has a hard working, passionate educator.
“I think that it is well deserved,” Valentine said about the award. “Barb has committed a lot of time and energy to the students in our community. She’s an innovative teacher who molds and shapes the kids of our community.”
While Hart has been teaching for quite some time, she said she doesn't plan on slowing down for the foreseeable future. She said she loves teaching and plans to keep at it for as long as possible.
“Once I started teaching, I really didn’t see myself doing anything else,” Hart said. “I was given an opportunity a couple of years ago to take an early retirement, and I couldn’t see myself not teaching. As long as I love what I do and look forward to it everyday, I’m not going to be ready to retire.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.