2019-20 District Teacher of the Year: Laura Hackwell
We are pleased to announce that Laura Hackwell, a special education teacher at Spring Creek Middle School, has been selected as the 2019-20 Cache County School District Teacher of the Year. Hackwell, who has taught in the district for the past seven years, is a professional educator of the highest caliber, exemplifying hard work, dedication, and expertise.
With special education classes that range from four to 16 students a year, Hackwell’s secret to success is knowing and working with each student individually. Using Individual Education Plans (IEPs) as a starting point and guide, she strives to have as much one-on-one time with students as possible. Hackwell also collaborates with a team of aides and student peer tutors to support and encourage her students to achieve their goals.
Hackwell finds joy in enabling her students and watching them succeed. “I love seeing them do things that they didn’t think they could do,” she shared. “Even if it takes us a full year to make progress on something, we keep having those high expectations. We let students see the progress they can make.” Though every day brings a new challenge, watching her students’ growth and accomplishments is what motivates Hackwell to be the best teacher she can be. She added, “That’s what keeps me going every day.”
As an educator and colleague, Hackwell is known as a team player. Comments from her past and present coworkers revealed a recurring recognition of her ability to support and work well with others. Joel Allred, the CCSD Director of Special Education, remarked that Hackwell consistently demonstrates “how much she cares about kids and how much she cares about their parents.”
Adding to the depth of her ability and knowledge, Hackwell, herself is the parent of a special needs child; her son has Spina Bifida. Her preparation and experience enable her to be sensitive to the needs of her students’ parents, while she also uses her skills as a special education teacher in her personal life. “Since my son was born, it’s been interesting to meet both of my worlds,” she says. “I can use my special ed side and apply it at home. I also see the parenting side, as I experience what my students’ parents deal with having a kid with a disability. I have been prepared for this.” This depth of character underlies Hackwell’s abilities as an educator.
Hackwell’s unique perspective and commitment as a special education teacher amplify her mission to enable and inspire those with disabilities. She works to push her students to achieve their potential and to help integrate them into the community. Through general education classes, lessons that apply to real life, and monthly field trips, Hackwell puts her students' needs first. “My big message in life is to remember that people with disabilities are just as capable as anybody else. That is what I push for at the schools--to have them included in everything, and to keep their expectations high.”
Mrs. Hackwell (shown here with board member Randall Bagley and CCSD
Director of Special Education, Joel Allred, was honored at the September 26,
2019 board meeting.