LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Karen Hagerty

Position: Piano Studies Teacher
School: Fraser High School
School District: Fraser Public Schools
City, State: Fraser, MI

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Karen Hagerty was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

It is difficult to exaggerate the significant influence Ms. Hagerty has on her school and the surrounding community. Her school and community service is motivated by a strong sense of social activism, which she informs through a nuanced, high-level understanding of the importance of leadership and engagement at all levels of education. She is one of the most caring, driven teachers one could ever work with.

Ms. Hagerty works with a passion not often seen. She leads by example, helping students who struggle and bringing a love of music to all of her students.  She achieves this in such a delicate way that many students are inspired to keep playing the piano, either by taking her class several times or continuing with private lessons on their own. Ms. Hagerty also works with the musical theater students, as well as the middle school band and choir. Additionally, she plays for the district's honor elementary choir, so her inspiration is far-reaching.  

"Karen believes passionately in social progress and working for the common good.  She is a talented, intelligent musician with charisma, confidence, strong values, and respect for others to make a huge difference in the world around her," said her nominator. "It has been my privilege to call her a colleague and friend for many years."

Comments (28)

Christine Osborne Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hagerty, You're a great teacher! I remember having you in elementary school for Kindergarten to 6th grade. I also remember doing the coffee can musician project when I had you for music in 6th grade. :) I was happy when I found out you were teaching at Fraser High School after I graduated from Eisenhower Elementary because then if I could still have the chance to talk to you and see you around the halls. You were one of my favorite teachers in elementary school. Christine

William Bush Posted over a year ago

Your someone ill probably never forget. You left a positive and memorable impression in my life and i thank you. Best music teacher.

Emily Gietzen Posted over a year ago

Truly one of the greatest teachers and women of all time. Just today I was talking about Mrs. Hagerty teaching me music in 6th grade and the coffee can musician project we had to do. I did mine on Johnny Cash and still to this day any time I hear one of his songs I think of Mrs. Hagerty. I have had the privilege of having guidance in my life from this amazing woman from 2004- 2012 and now in 2020 I can remember so many things so vividly about my time with Mrs. Hagerty. Even during my senior year when getting ready to go to college for music she and I talked about which schools I had the options to attend and she always listened and gave me sound practical advise without ever telling me what to do. Thank you for helping me and so many others become the people we are today! We love you congratulations you deserve it!!!

Steven Razzouk Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hagerty is the most inspiring person that got me going in life and in music! She definitely deserves this nomination... Mrs. Hagerty cares about every single student and is very passionate about what music and paino can do! She will always encourage us to find our limits and expand them. Without her, I probably wouldn't still be playing the piano even though I graduated high school. It is that seed of joy toward piano that she planted in my heart! She is simply amazing...

Jessica Wilcox Posted over a year ago

Where to begin, not only did I have Karen as a teacher I also had the privilege to to work with her in a Professional Chorale. Karen is an amazing teacher pianist, friend and coworker. So much passion behind what's she teaches. I couldn't be more happy to know her on many levels over the years. Congratulations, we need more people like you in this world.

Skye Ryan Posted over a year ago

Karen Hagerty was one of my favorite teachers in high school! She taught me how to play the piano beautifully and she has such a kind and beautiful heart ??

Haili Vollen Posted over a year ago

Even though I was never the best, she helped me for a love and appreciation of piano. She’s so kind and sweet and anytime I come home to visit she never fails to make me smile and we just catch up on the old times. She’s know me for years and has always pushed me to become a better person and helped me with my love for music. She’s truly inspiring. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher growing up

Katie Harm Posted over a year ago

Ms. Hagerty was my elementary school music teacher. She was absolutely wonderful. She is so kind and is great when advice is needed. I had the pleasure of having her as a teacher in high school as well for my piano class. Again just an absolute star. She was very patient and super helpful. I have been out of FHS a couple years now and still speak of the people who made my high school experience what it was while I was there and Ms. Hagerty is one of them. It’s hard to forget a teacher like her. She is an inspiration!

Rob Lindsay Posted over a year ago

"Of the year" downplays the meaning of "Life Changer." Through positivity and a deep passion for music and education, Karen truly changes the lives of everyone she meets for not only a year, but for the rest of their lives. She is a unique blessing to our world and is the exemplar of an educator, colleague, and friend.

Alyssa Vodak Posted over a year ago

Karen Hagerty is truly one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever crossed in my life. Her presence sings joy, which is spread to all surrounding her. She was my teacher in elementary school and then again at FHS, and the way she teaches students is so touching. She allows her space for mistakes to show students that it is okay. She also pushes her students to learn but also grow as people. Karen made an enormous impact in who I am today and how I vision my future. I am so blessed to know her and cannot thank her enough for all that she has done for me.

Dan Stevens Posted over a year ago

I do not know Karen as an educator, but when we talked about our jobs you could see and hear the passion in her words for all her students, new and old. Just by the conversations we had, I know Karen would do anything in her power to have a student succeed. I had a 4th grade teacher who changed my life and Karen reminds me of her. She richly deserves this award.

Paula Herbart Posted over a year ago

Karen and I worked together for 25 years. As a colleague, so was supportive, collaborative & engaged as a professional. As an educator, in addition to all of the aforementioned qualities, Karen is inspirational, nurturing and accepting. Students who have had the good fortune to work with Karen Hagerty have experienced not only her passion for music, but her passion for them as learners! Seeing students make music & gain the confidence performing & succeeding can bring is her great joy. Simply put, she is #simplythebest

Linda Jankowski Hasenauer Posted over a year ago

Karen Boestler Hagerty has created a musical legacy well before she had become a piano teacher at Fraser. I’ve known Karen since middle School and High school Choir at Fraser. Karen showed through many examples her commitment to music, inclusivity and love for others. Proud to call her friend for over 42 years. Congrats! Linda Hasenauer

Marilyn Lane Posted over a year ago

Karen has dedicated her life to empowering and inspiring our next generation of leaders. Her impact is evident in the countless students who credit her for their life successes. She is a true blessing to Fraser Public Schools and a model for educators throughout Macomb County.

Pasquale Pascaretti Posted over a year ago

Karen not only puts students first but has the ability to "teach"the teachers. She shows by example why we became educators. I was fortunate to have her as a student and years later as a colleague. Truly an inspiration.

Arlene Boelstler Posted over a year ago

Karen is a wonderful example of what a teacher should be. She is dedicated, kind, loving and a wonderful person. She takes on anything she is given with passion and always goes above and beyond. Music comes so naturally to her it shows in her amazing musical ability and talent. I am so blessed to have her in my life.

Terese McNelis Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Haggerty was my Music teacher as an Elementary student and then also taught Piano Studies to me as a High School student. I have always had an interest in music, and Mrs. Haggerty’s passion and dedication to help her students be successful is a true gift. I consider Karen a friend of mine now later in life, and am forever grateful for all she’s taught me and continues to teach me!

Liberty Cole Posted over a year ago

Karen is such a positive, sweet, and caring person! She’s an amazing teacher, hardworking, and such a wonderful person to be around! I’m amazed by her passion and gifts! She truly deserves this!

Lori Dick Posted over a year ago

Karen congratulations on you nomination. You are a wonderful example of what dedication, perseverance and commitment can accomplish over 25 years teaching in the Fraser School District. Thanks for sharing your love, kindness and talent with so many students! You are a wonderful teacher and friend!

Peyton DeSchutter Posted over a year ago

Karen Hagerty is probably the sweetest, warmest, most compassionate person and educator I’ve ever met. I was in her piano studies class for four years, and I wish I had been able to work with her sooner. She inspired me to be the absolute best educator I can be. She always pushes students, but never to the point of being stressful; she allows students to perform repertoire outside of the classical genre, and I know that a lot of students really appreciated that. She would make any accommodation necessary to help her students succeed. I aspire to be the educator she is, with as much professionalism, poise, and kindness as she has. She was one of the biggest influences I had in high school, a time where I dealt with serious mental illness, and I can’t thank her enough for everything that she has done for me.

Marlo Victor Posted over a year ago

Karen is loved by students and parents alike. She is always positive, caring and passionate about Student learning. She takes a sincere interest in her students and is committed to helping them any way she can. My daughters were both fortunate enough to have her for music and loved every minute of it.

Tina Posted over a year ago

One of the most loving, kind and selfless people one will ever meet. ??

Sandy Lumley Posted over a year ago

Best of the best! Congratulations Karen. Love Roger and Sandy Lumley

Tina Johns Posted over a year ago

Karen is by far one of the best teachers I have ever had the honour of encountering. Throughout the education of my children I had amazing teachers in my school district but Karen became more than just a teacher to my girls. During my oldest daughters senior year Andrea was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and was struggling in school. Andrea was in multiple choirs and loved to sing and dance but due to her condition there were times that she couldn’t participate as much as she desired to. It took us months to get a diagnosis and find out she would need brain surgery. Due to a travel event that had been planned for we waited to perform surgery upon her return. I was nervous about sending her on the trip so I discussed with Karen and a few others what to expect and do if needed. Andrea felt beyond comfortable and cared for on the trip and had so much support in large part due to the caring, loving and attentiveness she received. Karen is still her one of her favourite teachers and has continued to keep in touch with us all. Karen’s loving nature goes beyond the classroom and into the community as a whole. Her inspirational love of running has helped to encourage others to pick up the sport. Karen’s love of the community helped to establish an Optimist club, she has continued to support a barrier-free Park and she continues to provide inspiration to students of whom many have gone into educational vocation. Karen is a definite life changer in many ways and those who have had the privilege to know her understand that one person can truly make a lasting impact on our lives. ??

Linda Corbat Posted over a year ago

Karen, your dedication and commitment to the students of Fraser Schools is tremendous! Kindergarten through 12th grade and everywhere in between, vocal music to piano studies. You've encouraged and brought out the best in our kids, and have fostered a love of musical performance in thousands of students. Our Fraser Family is truly blessed to have you!

Barbara Shaub Posted over a year ago

Karen will always the teacher my son remembers, as he grows old. I appreciate her spirit.

Krista Kuligowski Posted over a year ago

Way to go Karen...I'm so proud and honored to have you as a life long friend who is truly making an impact on others...never change who you are and always know you have the love and support from your life long friends...Awesome job..

Jeanette Reeves Posted over a year ago

A truly inspiring educator , through her mentoring , have touched so many in career paths , that have changed lives !