Austin educator leaves long-lasting impact

Occasionally an individual journeys through one’s life and leaves an indelible mark. For many it is a deserving teacher who is long remembered. An unsung hero who asks for no recognition nor relishes the spotlight.

Today, I want to share some thoughts about teachers who labor in private schools. The recipients of their efforts are either charter schools, parochial schools, preschools or a sponsored school. In Austin, we are fortunate to have a number of exceptional teachers.

I want to shine the light on a specific teacher and director of a preschool that is sponsored by the First Congregational Church-United Church of Christ of Austin. This special individual is Carolyn Bogott. She retires in May and represents the private sector well.

Carolyn began teaching at the Congregational Preschool in 1980, not long after she and her family moved to Austin. Jim Peck, Carolyn’s pastor, said that in 1999, after the resignation of the preschool’s founding director, Mrs. Bogott was selected by the preschool board to fill the post. Under her leadership, the reading programs have expanded, field trips and on-site enrichment visits have been added as well as family activity nights.

She has strived over the years to make a difference in the lives of young children. She has accomplished that goal and has made that difference. Kirsten Nelson, a parent whose children have attended the preschool, says that Carolyn’s impact on the youth of Austin has in turn improved the community of Austin.


Carolyn, in her spare time, has volunteered numerous times as a tutor for the Austin Public Schools in their English as a second language program. She has also volunteered as a writing tutor at Riverland Community College and is currently serving as a mentor for the Mower County mentoring program.

Carolyn has served in the past on the Austin Board of Education for 13 years, including five years as chairperson of the board. Her willingness to give time to the teaching and educational leadership of the community is evident through numerous volunteer activities. In addition, she and her husband, Dr. Fred Bogott, recently spearheaded the successful effort to get a public radio station in Austin.

Late next month, she retires after 27 years as an outstanding teacher and educator.

However, she is just one individual in the small army of teachers who work in private education. They are seldom recognized for their devotion to the teaching of our children. They have become significant role models for our children as well as inspiring them to learn.

In their patient and untiring way, they come prepared and passionate each day about seeing that our children develop to their fullest potential. They set high expectations for all students.

In this time of year when the school doors will soon close for the summer and the shades are pulled, I want to shine a light on Carolyn and the many teachers in our private and parochial schools. They see the potential in our children and bring out the very best.

Pastor Peck says that they witness and see the future ready to unfold. They are the guiding hand as that future takes shape. There are many more Carolyn Bogott’s in private schools in our community who each day gives time to the teaching and learning of the entire community.

Congratulations for a job well done! Always remember that you and your colleagues have made a difference in our children’s lives by assisting them to reach their greatest potential. What more could one ask?


Roger Boughton is a longtime Austin resident and former city council member.

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