The Golden Apple Goes to Melanie Baggett

Published: Oct. 20, 2016 at 8:37 AM CDT
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"My goal in teaching is to make kids love to come to school and love to learn," Melanie Baggett said.

The energy, focus, and passion for learning are unmistakable in Baggett's second grade classroom.

"Her key thing that she does is she builds a relationship with the students," Rhonda Woodward, Hiland Park Elementary School's principal, said.

For the first year, Baggett is one of the Hiland Park teachers guiding her students through the "Leader in Me" program, based on the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."

"We translate that into kid words," she said.

Baggett teaches students to be proactive and think with the end in mind, all the way through creating synergy and sharpening the saw.

"Everyone can be a leader, not just adults," she said. "It really does start when you're a child and learning to own your work, own your decisions, and I'm hoping that by my example that students can learn how to be a leader for themselves too."

She lives these habits both in and out of the classroom.

"I think the most important habit that she is doing is finding her voice to inspire us," Jon Chatham, one of Baggett's students who nominated her for the Golden Apple Award, said.

"She makes learning fun," Woodward said. "She really engages all of the students. She knows them. She knows their interests, and she really plays off of that."

Baggett shows her students that as long as they put their hearts into their education, the payoff will be worth the effort.

"Kids come to school happy," she said. "We teach from the very beginning that being proactive means you're choosing how you act and how you feel. Just the difference in the smiles makes coming to school fun."

If you'd like to nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple Award, click the "Golden Apple" tab on our website.