Passion for art sparked Bergmann’s teaching career

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LHISD second grade teacher Donna Bergmann, affectionately called "Bergie" by her family and many of her colleagues, proudly poses in front of a gallery of art work produced by her students on display in the hallway at Bill Burden Elementary School.  Her passion for art spurred her career in education, but it’s been the love for and commitment to her students that has kept her teaching for 30 years. (Dana Delgado Photo)

LHISD second grade teacher Donna Bergmann, affectionately called “Bergie” by her family and many of her colleagues, proudly poses in front of a gallery of art work produced by her students on display in the hallway at Bill Burden Elementary School. Her passion for art spurred her career in education, but it’s been the love for and commitment to her students that has kept her teaching for 30 years. (Dana Delgado Photo)

By Dana Delgado

From an early age, art made Donna Bergmann’s world go round.

It was a wonderfully imaginative world-within-a-world for this west Texas native growing up in dusty Eden near San Angelo where creativity was always the order of the day. She would make her own paper dolls and clothes and every color was her favorite.

She couldn’t imagine a life without art. So, when she went off to Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), she immersed herself in art while serving as a student body senator and cheerleader. The passion for art that had so consumed Bergmann from childhood to early adulthood spurred her into a career in education. However, it’s been the love for and commitment to her students that has kept her teaching for 30 years in public schools.

“My first passion was art, but being a part of children’s lives and watching them learn especially reading has been very rewarding,” said Bergmann, a second grade teacher at Bill Burden Elementary School. Bergmann is in her third year in the classroom with the Liberty Hill Independent School District.

While relatively new to the district, Bergmann who is affectionately known by her family and many of her colleagues as “Bergie,” has a wealth of experience in education, She was Teacher of the Year at both Leander and Llano school districts, and has seen many changes through the years.

“It’s been fun changing with the times,” she said. “I’ve been in a lot of teaching situations including the open classroom and team teaching, but technology has been the biggest change in the classroom.”

After starting out with her dream position as an art teacher with the Leander Independent School District at Steiner Ranch Elementary School, she had teaching assignments with other area school districts including Round Rock, Austin, Llano and Georgetown. She also owned, operated and taught at a preschool in Georgetown.

“My diversity in experience and having worked with many children with varying needs has taught me that failing as a teacher is not an option,” Bergmann added. “I don’t use and I don’t accept the words, ‘I can’t,’ and quitting is not an option. It’s been a challenge, but I like to be challenged.”

Over her 30 years, the veteran teacher said she is thankful to have had the opportunity to work and share her enthusiasm for teaching with countless young student teachers most of whom have hailed from Texas State University, the University of Texas and Southwestern University.

“It was rewarding for me to see them blossom into great prospective classroom teachers,” she said.   While being in public education for 30 years, Bergmann said her passion for art as well as her love and dedication for teaching have remained unchanged.

“No matter if I am teaching art, reading, math or science, my passion is working with children,” she said. “I am so blessed to be a part of a great second grade team at Bill Burden Elementary School.”

For years, she continued her passion for art by doing oil painting and working with mixed media and has exhibited at the Art Center at Lake Buchanan.

Her spare time these days, however, is spent with her six grandchildren, her husband John Bergmann and their children Jay, Julie and Allison.

In addition, she looks forward to fishing along the Gulf Coast, enjoying any beach, attending sporting events especially at Texas State University, and traveling to her preferred destinations like the Caribbean. She also hopes to visit every state in the union.

Bergmann said she is contemplating writing a book on all the “sweet and funny blessings” she has received from the thousands of students that she has taught in the past three decades.

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