FAIRVIEW — Ragan Webb's fourth-grade classroom at Fairview Elementary School delivers immediate clues to her enthusiasm for science and teaching.
Two bearded dragons named Charlie Brown and Snoopy live in a back corner. Colorful posters on the walls illustrate a pond ecosystem and the owl food chain. A wall of books offers resources for students.
Webb, 36, said she received an anonymous nomination for the award and learned she had won last summer.
"I was surprised I was nominated, and I was really surprised that I won," she said. "There are lots of great science teachers in Missouri, and there are a lot of great science teachers in Columbia, so it’s a very big honor to be recognized."
The Outstanding Science Teacher Award is presented each year to elementary, middle-school and high-school teachers who display excellent teaching skills.
“I was so excited for Mrs. Webb when I learned early in the summer that she had won Science Teacher of the Year," Fairview Principal Diana DeMoss said. "I knew that she had been nominated and was deserving of such an award."
Now in her 14th year of teaching, Webb has been a science specialist for Columbia Public Schools, as well as a fourth-grade teacher. She is an MU graduate and earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
"Most of my life I wanted to be a teacher, but when I started college I thought I wanted to be a doctor and I was a biology pre-med major," she said. "Then my junior year I decided I didn’t want to, so I went back to elementary education. I think that’s where the love of science and teaching came together."
To demonstrate the lessons of science in a natural setting, she loves to take students outside.
"We do a field trip to Prairie Fork Conservation Area where the kids get to see a prairie pond and ecosystem which is part of our ecosystem unit. We got that through a grant through the Conservation Department," she said.
Anne Kome, a fellow fourth-grade teacher, spoke highly of Webb and her accomplishments.
"She’s a joy to work with, and she’s a good team player," Kome said. "I’m not surprised she won the award. She’s a hard worker."
Webb’s zeal for teaching is apparent when she talks about her profession.
"It’s very rewarding, and I think if you don’t find it rewarding, it’s probably not the profession for you. But I love it and each year is different, each day is different, each minute is different."