Upper Columbia Academy's Teacher of Excellence Gayle Haeger

Ask any of Gayle Haeger's hundreds of biology students, past or present, if she deserves a teaching award, and the answer will be the same—a resounding yes! On Feb. 24, she was officially recognized with the 2007 Teacher of Excellence Award from the Alumni Awards Foundation.

Haeger has shared her enthusiasm for organisms with Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) students for the past 12 years. UCA seniors Richard Clark and Spenser Zaharie, from Coeur D'Alene and Post Falls, Idaho, describe her as "full of energy, helpful, never has a bad day, always right, punctual, and 'way into' her students!"

Her classroom is always abuzz with new and exciting opportunities for exploring science. And her field trips are second to none, including the annual advanced biology class trip to the Walla Walla College Biological Field Station near Anacortes, Wash.

And as is the case with all excellent teachers, Haeger's love of teaching goes way beyond the classroom. On these trips she takes great delight in showing the might and power of the Creator and His love for each student individually through the amazing lives of sea creatures and the great outdoors.

"The words ‘dedicated, committed, and compassionate' characterize Gayle Haeger's life of teaching," summarizes principal Jeff Bovee. "She is passionate about science and passionate about Christian education."