Photo by Vickers Photography
With just two years of teaching under her belt, Lacy Pregler was named Teacher of the Year for Mustang Education Center. Pregler teaches algebra 1, intermediate algebra, and geometry to sophomores, juniors and seniors in the district’s alternative education program at MEC.
The alt-ed program is not punitive; it’s a place for students who are not being successful in the traditional school setting to recover credits and graduate. Many of these students are not accustomed to finding success at school. Some may have lost a parent or are working jobs to help support their family. Others may have made poor choices and gotten so far behind in credits that they need the structure at MEC, with courses in 17-day blocks, to recover credits in time to graduate.
For years, Pregler was a stay-at-home mom.
“It wasn't until later that I discovered in myself the talent of teaching. After many years of teaching various ages in Sunday School, in preschool programs and working as a substitute, I realized my desire to teach,” she said “I chose to become a teacher because I feel that it is a God-given gift to me. I love the school environment. Education is what gives us opportunities to succeed in life. Instilling a passion for learning, whether it is for higher education or self-education is what I strive for.”
She chose math, in part, because of a high school teacher who was passionate about the subject. He wanted his students to think critically, to understand the “hows” of math and not merely the mechanics. She also found she had a knack for math.
Although math comes easily to her, Pregler is drawn to the students who struggle. She loves preparing her lessons and building relationships with her students. Her favorite moments are those when a student who is having difficulty suddenly understands.
“I love seeing that ‘light bulb’ moment when they get it,” she said.
She remembers one student who came to see her. There was another class period starting. She was about to say, “What do you need? You need to get where you need be.” Before she could, he stopped in front of her desk.
“I just wanted to say ‘thank you,’” he said.
“I looked at him and asked, ‘For what?’ He said, ‘For believing in me.’ And I do believe in him. He is why I teach.”
Pregler is one of 15 Teachers of the Year for Mustang Public Schools. A district Teacher of the Year will be selected at a banquet in March.