Bellevue Elementary teacher Brittni Decker was recently honored as 2019 Teacher of the Year by Masonic Lodge No. 51 AF/AM in Bellevue.
The 2000 Bellevue High School graduate was nominated by the school’s administrative team based on years of service and performance. The award was in recognition of the ‘leadership, devotion to students and dedication to her profession’ according to the Masonic Lodge members.
“Receiving this award from the Masons is extra special to me because my Grandpa Brockhage was a Mason and a Shriner,” said Decker. “I am beyond thrilled and so excited to receive such an award. Teaching is a very rewarding job.”
After graduating from Bellevue High School 19 years ago, Decker went on to Upper Iowa University, graduating with an Elementary Education degree and a Reading and English Language Arts Endorsement. She also earned her Masters Degree in Quality Education from Graceland University. She currently teaches 2nd grade students and has been a part of the Bellevue School District for 13 years.
“I come from a fine line of teachers in my family. All who have impacted me in different ways,” said Decker. “My mom, Jo Ernst, who taught for 42 years at Bellevue High School, is my biggest role model and supporter in this profession.”
Brittni and her husband Jarred live in Bellevue and have two daughters, Hallie and Reese.
The Masons and the Masonic Lodge have been part of Bellevue and area communities now for over 160 years. Its enduring presence goes back to the founding ideals of the organizations that bridge the gaps of nationality, language and religion.
The founding Masonic lodge members in Bellevue met in a third floor room in the original Jackson County Courthouse, now the Bellevue Elementary School where Decker teaches.
In 1884, the Confidence Lodge No. 337 of La Motte, consolidated with Bellevue. Members from La Motte occasionally took the Chicago, Bellevue, Cascade and Western narrow gauge railroad to attend meetings and then walked the 15 miles back home.
Masonic Lodge No. 51 of Bellevue also includes former lodges in Miles and Preston and as a result the outreach, services and projects support have included those communities as well since the combination with Bellevue.
The Masons are strong supporters of education with annual scholarship funding for local graduates from Bellevue’s two school systems who are pursuing degrees and certificates.
Each spring the members of Bellevue’s lodge invite the local community’s teachers and education administrators for breakfast and recognition for their work and commitment to the youth of the area.