“Super Teacher” at Kent Gardens Wins Virginia Lottery Reward

Kent Gardens "Super Teacher" Rasmi Bacon and Margaret Alessi, the parent who nominated her.

By Bobbi Bowman, The McLean Ear

MCLEAN, VA -Rasmi Bacon, a fourth grade teacher at Kent Gardens Elementary School,  was a surprise Virginia Lottery winner Monday.

Turns out the Virginia Lottery rewards  two kinds of winners — the folks who buy lottery tickets and Super Teachers. Mrs Bacon was one of eight teachers selected statewide to receive the Virginia Lottery Super Teacher Award. She was the only Fairfax County winner.  The Lottery recognizes teachers because nearly 95 cents of each dollar spent on the Virginia Lottery goes to education,  according to a Lottery press release.

Monday morning was Kent Gardens’ awards program. “I sat down (in the auditorium) with the kids with my coffee. You rarely see me without my coffee,” Mrs. Bacon recalled. She heard principal Dr. Robyn Hooker say something about a surprise. Her husband had visited her at school earlier that morning. It was their wedding anniversary, he said. She passed parents whose children she had taught. She thought nothing of these encounters.

Then she heard Dr. Hook call her name at the awards ceremony. “I was pretty shocked. Two former parents said go up there. I’m painfully shy.”

Later , she learned that Margaret Alessi, a parent of a former student, had written a glowing letter nominating her for the Super Teacher award which consists of a cash prize of $2,000 and an additional $2,000 classroom credit from The Supply Room.

“To teach kids concepts about the American Revolution, Mrs. Bacon throws an annual Tea Party,” Mrs. Alessi wrote. “This year, she invited two other fourth grade classes and organized learning clinics. In one station, the children decorated colonial hats which Mrs. Bacon had sewed at home. Another station was a Founding Fathers bingo game. She created a story about five founding fathers with bingo words hidden within the story. The children had to listen hard to determine if bingo words were spoken,” she wrote.

Mrs. Alessi said Tuesday, “There are a lot of great teachers, but some are special because they reach your child. Mrs. Bacon did that for my son.”

Mrs. Bacon, an Arlington native,  said as the oldest of three, her teaching career started with her brother and sister. “I always felt like a teacher. I’d make up fun things for them to do.”

She became a bank teller to pay her way through  George Mason University as an English major. After graduation, she went into finance and went to work every day in a suit. But her heart belonged to teaching. Back to school she went. This time for a masters degree in curriculum development.  That opened the door to the classroom and the hearts of students and parents four years ago.

“The best part of teaching for me is seeing the kids excited about learning because I love learning and trying new things,” she said. She infuses a room with her enthusiasm.

How will she spend her prize money? She and her husband, who now live in Germantown, are house hunting in McLean.

Mrs. Alessi, a former PTA president said she was “super excited” about this recognition for teachers.  “I think teachers have a tough job — they don’t get paid a lot for it and they donate a lot of their time. We love the teachers.”

Background: This is the second annual Super Teacher program, a partnership of the Virginia Lottery, the Virginia PTA and The Supply Room Companies to honor  K-12 public educators, the Lottery press release said.

Since 1999, all Virginia Lottery profits have been designated solely to K-12 public school education in Virginia. In that time, the Lottery has turned over more than $4 billion for Virginia’s public schools. The latest annual profits of $439.1 million currently represent about 7 percent of state funding for public education in Virginia. In 21 years, the Lottery has sold more than $21.1 billion in tickets, awarded more than $1.1 billion in retailer commissions and paid more than $11.6 billion in prizes to players, according to the Virginia Lottery.

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