Teacher of the year

Journalism advisor recognized for a year of challenges.

Each year, a google form sheet is sent around the school asking for the teacher that deserves to claim the title of “Teacher of the Year”. Students and faculty members alike, fill the form out suggesting the teacher that they believe has shown leadership in the classroom. This year, that teacher is the journalism teacher, Karla Sprague.

The process of becoming Teacher of the Year isn’t necessarily an easy one. The google form gets sent around the school with dozens of teachers to be selected, to be singled out above the rest is special. The form then gets organized and there is usually a natural break of where the finalist would be, this year it came down to the top four: John Stewart, Allison Whitehouse, Karla Sprague, and Holly Haney.

After a long road of fighting censorship of the newspaper, Sprague was set apart from the rest this year in her leadership ability.

“I’m not a better teacher than the rest of them,” Sprague said, “I guess what set me apart this year was that I stood up for my kids in a public forum that garnered more attention than I ever anticipated.”

Sprague had been in the news nationwide defending her students for their rights as student journalists. Although at one point in the year, she feared the loss of her job, she now celebrates with her head held high.

“I think this was the year of Sprague,” English teacher and fellow Teacher of the Year nominee Allison Whitehouse, “it was a big moral pick me up of the school year.”

Sprague was also Whitehouse’s mentor when she was starting out as an English teacher, the win is bitter-sweet.

Since Sprague has won teacher of the year out of Har-Ber’s administration, her information is now sent to the district-wide Teacher of the Year. This position is picked by district administration and varies between primary schools and secondary schools each year. This year it is the secondary schools turn for submission of Teacher of the Year nominees. Each School from grades 7th-12th submit their school’s nominee to be added into the district ballot.

“You get one year paid representative leave,” Sprague said, “you represent the state so you go around and speak to groups of teachers.”

After 13 years of teaching, Sprague has not only won Teacher of the year, she recently won Advisor of the year from ASPA. ASPA, the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association held a state convention for 56 schools in Arkansas the weekend of April 18, Sprague was recognized for her fight for her students.

“It’s not that I give you power,” Sprague said, “I just try to empower… it’s about empowering others.”