Ruth Ann Wagner, BA, MA, ABR, is a lifelong teacher, school administrator, and counselor who has dedicated the last two decades to building a thriving second career as a licensed real estate agent and accredited buyers’ representative. Born into a family with a legacy of teaching, Ms. Wagner’s earliest interest in education was inspired by her grandfather and her mother, both public school teachers during World War II. By the time she was in fifth grade, she had begun to demonstrate an aptitude for helping her classmates, and her teachers encouraged her to join an organization for students interested in teaching. She attended the University of Louisville, graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and completed 18 credit hours of graduate coursework before enrolling at the University of Kentucky, where she was awarded a Master of Arts in education in 1969.
She began her teaching career in Louisville’s Jefferson County Schools the same year, quickly developing a reputation for her innovative instructional methods and easy rapport with students and faculty alike. A firm believer in the value and power of a lifelong learning ethos, Ms. Wagner continued her education at the University of Louisville while teaching full-time, earning a Rank I distinction in 1976. By the mid-1970s, she was teaching classes as part of “Follow Through,” a federally-designed reading program, and in 1977, she was selected to represent her school at the International Readers’ Association Convention in Miami, Florida.
Part of Ms. Wagner’s passion for education came from its potential to help children become the best possible versions of themselves and develop skills that would give them advantages in the adult world. In 1979, after a decade of classroom teaching, she became a school counselor, shifting her focus to helping students’ emotional growth and working with families to support their students. She remained a school counselor for the next two decades, earning provisional counseling, principal, and administrative licenses in addition to her K-8 teaching and psychology certificates. Ms. Wagner retired from teaching in 1999 after more than 30 years in the field, honored with awards from Kentucky governors Martha Layne Collins and Brereton C. Jones and a Superintendent’s Golden Apple Award.
Looking for a change and inspired by her childhood memories of her father, a builder, Ms. Wagner earned her real estate sales license and joined Semonin Realtors shortly after her retirement from teaching. She remained active as a realtor until 2018, becoming an accredited buyers’ representative and earning the distinction of having more than one million dollars in sales by 2005. Ms. Wagner considers her work in real estate to be just as important as her commitment to education, explaining that “next to education, a family’s home is one of the most important things they can give their children,” and she is proud of her career-spanning dedication to helping her students and clients find success.
In her retirement, Ms. Wagner enjoys swimming, waterskiing, and travel, in addition to genealogy. She is passionate about local and family history, and served two terms as the senior Kentucky state president of the Children of the American Revolution while remaining active in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames.