Hicksville resident & Wayne Trace Teacher Patricia Hart was recently Named Teacher of the Year by Greater FW Business Weekly magazine

Hart taught Spanish at Antwerp Local Schools for eight years beginning in 1990. She is currently in her first year in the Wayne Trace school system, again teaching Spanish.

Prior to winning the award, Hart had never heard of the magazine and only found out about its existence when she learned that she had won. “Every year they have educator awards,” she said, adding that her nomination came about while teaching Spanish in the DeKalb Central school system.

“I was extremely honored and humbled,” she said, “and shocked beyond belief.”   Hart learned of winning the award via the school e-mail at Wayne Trace. “I don’t know how they got my e-mail address,” she laughed, adding that she learned of her nomination at the same time she won.

“Apparently I won hands down,” she said. “The letter said it was ‘thanks to a glowing recommendation.’ I took it to the principal at Wayne Trace, who smiled and said it was just wonderful.”

The aforementioned glowing recommendation came from Sarah Johnson, a student she had taught at DeKalb Central High School, Auburn, as a junior and senior. Johnson has since become a student at Indiana University, majoring in biology, chemistry and Spanish.

“She had known all along she wanted to be a physician,” said Hart, adding that Johnson had expressed a desire to work overseas and had visited Mexico with Hart and another student.

Hart had taught Johnson for a year and a half, not counting a semester where Johnson studied online and found it lacking. “She told me that she’d kept asking, ‘How would Mrs. Hart say that?’,” she said.

After going on to IU, Johnson informed her mentor that she had tested out of several Spanish courses there, starting in at second-semester Spanish II. “That’s the equivalent of Spanish IV in high school,” Hart said.

“Her letter was very touching; I cried when I read it,” she said. “The letter said I wasn’t in teaching for the money; that I spread enthusiasm for learning.

“When I told her I won, she said, ‘you deserve it because you changed my life.’ It put an end to all the wondering about teaching being really for me.”

Hart’s husband Bruce is a Hicksville Village Firefighter. The Harts are in the process of opening the Uptown Cafe restaurant in Hicksville.