Katie Fagundes
Special to the Sun

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June 24, 2013
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Glenshire Elementary educator 11th Teacher of the Year finalist

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Glenshire Elementary teacher Mary Bockius has been selected as the 11th Teacher of the Year finalist.

The Teacher of the Year committee recognized her enthusiasm and dedication to student learning.

“Maggie’s commitment to teaching and her students is exceptional,” wrote one parent nominator. “She is approachable, funny, and employs the most current and innovative teaching techniques to keep her students engaged,” wrote another parent.

On May 29, Shelly Wright of Plumas Bank, Michael Gelbman publisher of the Sierra Sun, and Charlie Riley owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS presented Bockius with a Teacher of the Year finalist certificate, a $50 gift certificate to Office Boss, courtesy of Plumas Bank, and a $50 gift certificate from Truckee Hometown SEARS.

Each year Maggie Bockius shares the poem “Two Wolves” with her class. The poem describes an internal battle between our positive thoughts or our negative thoughts and teaches the reader that we can choose which thoughts win the battle.

Bockius manages her class by encouraging and expecting students to embrace the positive. She creates a learning environment where all students feel supported, challenged, and empowered.

Her ability to connect with each student, and help them bring out their best self, is just one reason Maggie Bockius has been selected a Truckee Hometown SEARS- Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year finalist.

Maggie Bockius, originally from Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and earned a degree in Biology. After graduating, Bockius moved with a group of friends to the Tahoe area.

Sixteen people sharing a two bedroom house was fun but Bockius eventually returned to Vermont for work. She could not stay away from Tahoe for long and came back to work at Squaw Valley.

In the late ‘80s Tahoe Truckee Unified School District did not have a lunch program. District leaders came to Squaw to see their food service system and asked Bockius to work as a consultant and set up school kitchens. From 1989-1991, Bockius worked as the Food Service Director for TTUSD.

During her time working for the district, Bockius visited school sites and was inspired to become a teacher. After having her two children, Bockius attended Sierra Nevada College to earn a teaching credential.

She started working part time at Glenshire Elementary and eventually became a full time teacher. Bockius has taught nearly every grade at Glenshire Elementary and this year taught a fourth/fifth-grade combination class.

Parents and colleagues have been impressed by Bockius’s ability to differentiate instruction and challenge each of her students.

“Her students are empowered and productive learners,” said Glenshire principal Kathleen Gauthier. “They know they are capable as Maggie demonstrates this belief in everything she does and says.”

Bockius is particularly passionate about teaching Math. She recognizes that not every student loves every subject but tries to motivate all of her students to develop their mathematical skills.

Bockius explains how the math in each lesson is used outside of school, and why it is important to learn. She also uses long-range projects to help students connect numbers to real life experiences.

“Her commitment to getting a math lesson understood by students who are having a difficult time is unmatched,” wrote one parent nominator. “She runs a before school math class where kids have the opportunity to get a head start on the daily math lesson, then they hear the lesson explained again during the normal lesson time, and then, she immediately goes to the resource table where anyone who wants to, can hear it AGAIN.”

Students know that Bockius is there to support their learning and are not afraid to ask for help.

“If you did not understand something, she would gladly reteach the lesson until you understood it,” wrote one former student. “She never lets a kid go home without fully understanding the lesson.”

Bockius’ teaching philosophy is simple and straightforward. She wants her students to develop self-discipline, grit, and stick-to-itiveness.

“I get out of the way of my kids,” said Bockius. “It’s not about me; it’s about inspiring them to do whatever motivates them.”

Parents and students alike appreciate Bockius’s ability to inspire students to be their best. Nominees shared numerous stories of creative lessons, extra help, and positive encouragement.

Students in her class are motivated to work but still feel comfortable and at ease. They are grateful for the challenges, responsibilities and support they receive in class.

“I think of her as a person I respect a lot, not just as a teacher,” wrote one student.

Bockius responds humbly to her Teacher of the Year nomination.

“Part of being a great teacher is being a part of a great staff, school, and family,” said Bockius. “That’s what makes you great.”

Bockius is excited to continue working at a school with wonderful families, great students, and the nicest group of people she has ever met.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 26, 2013 11:48AM Published Jun 26, 2013 04:03PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.