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Sharmon Hagler: A Personal Journey

Hollister Missouri Middle School counselor Sharmon Hagler was thrilled to learn she had received a Global Teacher Fellowship from The Rural School and Community Trust. “I was very, very excited to receive the award,” she said. “It is an opportunity that changes my life.”

Hagler’s summer travel Odyssey will begin with a visit to Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.  She will then travel to Israel for archival research and wind up in Europe, where she will visit German concentration cams and the infamous “Ghetto” in Warsaw Poland. The purpose of this whirlwind tour is to provide a solid foundation for the development of a cross-curricular program that will introduce middle-school students to the origin and impact of the Holocaust.

Hollister14Having her students make the connection between bullying and the Holocaust is what Hagler hopes to achieve through her Fellowship. She is adamant in her logic: “The Holocaust started out with race-based bullying.  My kids find it hard to believe that this actually happened—it is important that they know.”

Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellowship program annually awards up to 25 fellowships to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The awards (up to $5,000 for individual teachers and $10,000 for a team of two or more teachers) support teachers’ participation in self-designed summer learning experiences and a two-day place-based learning institute in the fall. Teachers are encouraged to center their learning in an international travel and study experience, out of which they develop interdisciplinary, place-based learning curricula aligned with their specific state and local content standards.  The Fellows then convene for a fall gathering of fellowship and sharing.

Hagler learned of the program through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural School Partnership.