Three Lodi Unified School District teachers were honored by nonprofit San Joaquin A+ for their work in local classrooms. The education group selected 12 teachers from across the county as Outstanding Teachers of 2012. All were recognized last week at an annual event at the Stockton Country Club.
Phyllis Jaeger: Reese Elementary School, third grade, 25-year teacher
Jaeger considered both bookkeeping and nursing as possible careers, but chose teaching because of her easy rapport with children. She worked at both Nichols and Beckman elementary schools before moving to Reese, and has spent her entire career in the primary grades.
"I like making that connection with kids, that moment when you can see you're beginning to make a difference in students' lives," she said. "I get to work in a place where I'm greeted with hugs and smiles every day. It's not a bad gig."
Lana Yarbrough: Live Oak Elementary School, special education, 26-year teacher
A college class called "An Introduction to Exceptional Children" opened the door for Yarbrough, who began teaching in her home state of Kansas. She took on the position at Live Oak in the middle of the school year.
"I love special education just because I get to work with children who are struggling and miserable in a regular class. Then they come into a special day class and a whole new world is introduced to them," she said.
Patricia White: Vinewood Elementary School, fourth grade, 19-year teacher
White focuses on hands on science projects in her classroom. She considers teaching to be her calling.
"I love working with children," she said. "I love the excitement of watching kids learn."