Hager named NR-S School's Teacher of the Year


February 20, 2023

Nathan Price

Laura Hager instructs the eighth grade math class at NR-S on Thursday, Feb. 16. This is her 18th year of teaching.

Laura Hager, New Rockford-Sheyenne's middle school math teacher, has been named the NR-S School District's Teacher of the Year.

The annual honor was announced at the school board's regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 13, by NR-S Superintendent Jill Louters, and she had nothing but praise for Hager's years of service to the district.

"Her experience in the district and focus on learning outcomes and student health is exemplary," said Louters.

A graduate of New Rockford High School, Hager began her teaching career as a paraprofessional at the Sheyenne school 18 years ago. At the time, she was fresh out of Jamestown College – now the University of Jamestown – with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Hager has also earned a Masters of Education (administration) from the University of Mary.

Hager's teaching story began, like so many teachers, when she herself was attending school.

"My fourth grade teacher was Jan Manly, right here in New Rockford, and I guess that was probably the first time that I realized that I wanted to be a teacher," recalled Hager.

"I was always very active in school," she continued, "in organizations and leadership and student council and president and things like that, and I enjoyed those things so I wanted to be able to continue being in that setting with students and adults and still being included in those kinds of activities."

Now that she's a middle school math teacher, Hager says there's also a few core things she hopes every child takes away from her classes.

"Teaching middle school math, I often get asked, when will I need to know this?" said Hager. "I want students to leave our classroom knowing that I truly care about him/her. I want him/her to learn to be responsible, timely, independent problem solvers. Solving variables, formulas, and computations are used to build these life skills."

Hager has been a familiar face to so many who've attended school in New Rockford over the years, and has played a major role in the history of NR-S since the district was first created in 2006.

"She contributes to all district discussion and committee work, from Cognia Accreditation Leadership Teams to chairing our District Building Committee," said Louters. "In addition, she participates in the MTSS District Data Review processes and training while teaching middle school math."

Louters added, "She also acts as an informal liaison for employees new to the district, helping them get acquainted and connected to local organizations and activities."

Though she's now in her 18th year of teaching, Hager said every day still presents a fresh challenge and opportunity to help New Rockford-Sheyenne's youth continue to learn and grow.

"I enjoy the students and how each day, if not hour, if not minute, is different," said Hager. "You never know what a kid's gonna say, what a kid's gonna do, there's just so many variables. I enjoy those challenges that are different all the time, every day is different."

Now that she's been named teacher of the year at NR-S, Hager will have the opportunity to submit her application to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to be considered for the state and national award.

Hager said Wednesday she was very honored to be named teacher of the year.

"My dream when I went into this profession was to be able to come back to our community and be able to teach and raise my family. That was my dream and that's what I'm doing," said Hager. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."


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