Schwegler School reading teacher Renee Babin wins this year’s $10,000 Bobs’ Award

Renee Babin, a Title I reading interventionist at Schwegler School, is the winner of the 2011 Bobs’ Award, an honor given annually to an outstanding educator in the Lawrence school district.

Previous winners

These are previous winners of the Bobs’ Award: Christy Kelly, Cordley School; Paulette Breithaupt, Sunset Hill School; Deb Engstrom, Lawrence High School; Sherry Vratil, Wakarusa Valley School; Mary Chapman, Free State High School; Kathy Wagner, West Junior High School; Paula Barr, Hillcrest School; Kathy Rathbun, Langston Hughes School; Brian “Chip” Anderson, Central Junior High School; Pamela Bushouse, Free State High School; Sue Siegfreid, Woodlawn School; Victoria Beals, South Junior High School; and Val Howland, Broken Arrow School.

Babin picked up the award, and the $10,000 prize that goes with it, as her second year at Schwegler and her third in the district overall.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m surprised. I’m mortified,” Babin said Monday, after receiving the check and congratulations from administrators, colleagues and students during a special assemble in the school gym. “People are going to expect a lot. It will inspire me to try even harder.”

The award is financed through the Lawrence Schools Foundation, thanks to the generosity of 17 benefactors who share at least two things: the first name Bob, and a collective desire to otherwise remain anonymous.

At Schwegler, Babin works with students to meet their reading needs, while supporting other teachers and staffers in developing plans for improving students’ reading instruction. She started work in the district in 2008, as a reading instructional support assistant at Deerfield.

She has been teaching since 1998.

“It’s awesome,” said Jennifer Day, a Title I reading paraeducator, who was standing next to Babin as the winner’s name was announced. “She deserves it completely.”

Jared Comfort, Schwegler principal, said that Babin had played a “critical role” in several initiatives: developing a plan for implementation of a student data warehouse, helping provide professional development to teachers, and supporting teachers in the review and analysis of student data to gauge instructional impact on a regular basis.

“Her instruction is always data-based and she monitors student progress frequently to ensure instruction is meeting its mark,” Comfort said. “With her leadership, we continue to increase the number of students meeting end-of-year reading benchmarks at every grade level.”