NTO teacher receives MOST award - Odessa American: ECISD

NTO teacher receives MOST award

By Ruth Campbell rcampbell@oaoa.com | Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 4:52 pm

Those around Bernadette Barragan say she is dedicated and hard working, but Tuesday she was formally recognized as the MOST — Most Outstanding Science Teacher by the West Texas Geology Foundation at a luncheon in her honor at the Midland Country Club.

Barragan teaches 12th grade sciences at George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa. Those include anatomy and physiology and forensic science. She also teaches student leadership, has been the prom coordinator and co-sponsors the academic decathlon team with Damian Gaytan at George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa. She has been the student council sponsor, as well.

West Texas Geology Foundation Chairman Jay Hightower said the award has been given since the early 1990s. This year, they had a corporate partner, Datalog Geological Services, which underwrote the award.

Hightower, a geologist at Reatta Energy, said the foundation funds, for example, teacher education in earth sciences, and student scholarships. The award to Barragan is for $3,000 and a $2,000 award goes to New Tech.

Nominations can be submitted by coworkers, department chair, students, parents or anyone who knows the nominee. Hightower said applications come in from all across the area. Recent past winners have been from Terlingua, Presidio, San Angelo and Andrews.

Hightower said he gives the applications to three other people and everybody ranks them. He then assigns a point system to see who comes out on top, but invariably, the top candidates are very close in quality.

What made Barragan stand out, Hightower said, is her leadership in the classroom and in the school.

“Her recommendation letter came from a fellow teacher. It was outstanding,” Hightower said. “Sometimes, quite honestly you don’t know. You have friends nominating friends, but once you talk to them you get the picture really quick. She’s completely genuine and absolutely worthy of this particular award.”

He added that the award is unique because the $3,000 goes directly to the teacher and $2,000 goes to their school. Hightower said it’s in recognition of the teachers’ hard work and dedication.

“It’s a nice little icing on the cake for a principal or school system,” Hightower said.

Hightower said he is “flabbergasted” by teachers having to pay for items for their classroom out of their own pockets and this is a small token to recognize the instructors and “right the ship a little bit.”

For her part, Barragan said winning the award is exciting, but also very humbling. When she got the call about it, she said she was speechless and that the laurel motivates her to keep doing what she’s doing and try new things.

“There’s a lot of people here in the district, a lot of science teachers that deserve it. They’re doing a lot of great things,” she said.

New Tech Principal Gerardo Ramirez said there are no restrictions on how the funds can be used.

“It goes back into the classroom one way or another,” Ramirez said.

“Some of it already has,” Barragan said.

Barragan is starting her eighth year with NTO.

“A special thank-you to the West Texas Geology Foundation. I know Ms. Barragan is very deserving of it. She works very hard and I know it’s going to go a long away,” Ramirez said.