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Golden Apple 2024: Gina Wagner, Denmark Middle School

Gina Wagner, in purple
Denmark Middle School Spanish Teacher Gina Wagner, in purple, is in her 29th year as an educator. Submitted photo



The Greater Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce recently surprised its 2024 Golden Apple recipients in their classrooms. The local teachers were recognized in the areas of professionalism, leadership and innovation.

Leading up to the April recognition event, the Press Times is highlighting these eight honorees.

GREEN BAY – Denmark Middle School Spanish Teacher Gina Wagner is in her 29th year as an educator.

She said that the most important thing about being an educator, for her, is “fostering positive relationships with students.”

“When students feel supported and valued, the more likely they are to succeed. The rest falls into place so much easier when students know that you are in their corner,” she said.

“In addition, I am a very reflective person. Whether it is after an activity, an assessment, instruction, or interactions with students, I am always reflecting on outcomes. I note what I would like to do differently, things that worked, and how I might make something more engaging. I do an anonymous survey to my students at the end of each semester. I ask them different questions about my instruction and the class. I compile and analyze the results to see what students perceive as my strengths and areas of growth. I then pick something that I can specifically work on for the next semester.”

The support works both ways, but Wagner knows just how important it is during a person’s youth.

“Both of my parents have always been so supportive of my teaching career; however, it was my dad that encouraged me to become a teacher,” she recalled.

Wagner attended UW-Green Bay, where she obtained a bachelor of arts in Spanish and French PK-12.

“I graduated college with a double major in Spanish and French, but I wasn’t exactly sure in what direction I wanted to go with that. My dad had suggested to get a teaching certification, so I went back to school to obtain my teaching license. I instantly fell in love with teaching, it was the perfect career choice for me,” she added.

“Besides just being around students and getting to know them, I also love trying to come up with creative ways to engage them. I like to use things in class that students can interact with.

“For example, if we are learning about travel vocabulary, we will simulate going on a trip, including going to the travel agency, packing actual suitcases, going through all the necessary stops in the airport and boarding the plane. I will use props such as passports and airline tickets. I will have costumes that students can wear as the security agent, flight attendants, etc…

“I just love when students are excited about learning and are able to apply what they learned in different situations.

“I guess parents really do know best.”

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