Each year, the District recognizes and honors excellence brought by educators each day in their classrooms. Each campus Teacher of the Year (TOY) was elected by their peers and administration in recognition for their contribution in the classroom and throughout the campus learning community.

Note: The District and State Teacher of the Year program awards are designed to designate teachers as such until the next school year. Therefore, they are awarded and named Teachers of the Year for the next year and not the current year.

Tara Watkins, Grade 1
Anderson Mill Elementary School

I believe that as a teacher I have the direct opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many scholars. I became a teacher because I want to help provide a strong foundation for our future leaders. I want to encourage my scholars, and help them to reach their full potential. It is my mission as an educator to empower my scholars to become life-long learners, by building a positive and safe learning environment.

Carrie Altenburger, Visual Arts
Berkman Fine Arts Integration Academy

I don’t think I chose education. I think education chose me. At a very young age, the thought of being a teacher was my dream. As a child I loved spending time organizing my desk, putting all my supplies in just the right place and lining up all my stuffed animals in their spots, so they were ready to learn. I know that teaching was my dream because I still feel just as excited today to teach as I did when I was a young child.

Katie Eskridge, Grade 3
Blackland Prairie Elementary School

Being an educator is more than just a job to me. It’s a passion. I think being a leader in education is important to inspire others to feel the same passion and drive. We have one of the most difficult, but important jobs in the world: to help children become whatever it is they were meant to be.

Katie Elder, Dual Language Kindergarten
Bluebonnet Elementary School

Educators are in a position to make a powerful impact on our students’ mindset, attitude towards school, and in the development of their understanding of the world around them. What an incredible leadership responsibility we get to take on! To me, this means that we must do our best to maintain healthy levels of self-care for ourselves so that we can show up ready to meet the needs of our students every day.

Suzanne Fell, Grade 2
Brushy Creek Elementary School

Being a leader in the classroom means I have a responsibility to my students and their families. It means investing in relationships with my students and building a community where children feel safe enough to take risks. It is the responsibility of creating an environment where students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning, ask questions, and seek solutions. Being a leader means sharing my passion for learning, modeling and providing compassion towards others, taking my failure bows – and then trying again.

Katie Dahn, TAG Specialist
Cactus Ranch Elementary School

Being an educator means everything to me. I never stop trying! I love that every single day I have it within my reach to make a difference. Being a leader means that I help others be successful. I find those qualities that make them unique and help them build upon them. When we grow these areas, our weaknesses become less.

Ashley Wilwayco, Grade 5
Caldwell Heights Elementary School

Being an educator means I can make a difference. I can still take on leadership roles while keeping my roots in the classroom. The kids are really what makes teaching interesting, fun, and meaningful.

Noe Gutierrez, Grade 1 Dual Language
Callison Elementary School

I became an educator to provide equal educational opportunities to every student. I hope to have a chance to affect someone’s life positively.

Joni Biggers, Grade 3
Canyon Creek Elementary School

I wanted to be a teacher 30 years ago because children are our future, and it is important to provide them with the right information and tools to lead their lives in a positive way. My ultimate goal/mission as an educator it to promote lifelong learners and extraordinary experiences.

Amanda Mitchell, Interventionist
Caraway Elementary School

I chose to become an educator to help inspire students to strive to be the best version of themselves. My mission is to help students realize their strengths and set goals in life to reach them. I struggled academically in school and had teachers who took the extra time to care and help me use my strengths to push past those weaknesses. I want to be able to do the same for as many students as possible! It was one of the greatest gifts I received, and now it’s my turn to give back!

Dayna Collings, Librarian
Chandler Oaks Elementary School

I became an educator, because I want to to show my students the kindness, compassion and support that many of my former teachers gave me. My mission as an educator and librarian is to provide an exemplary education for every child. To begin each day by encouraging my students to invest in their education and to find their passion for learning.

Gabby Seale, Kindergarten
Deep Wood Elementary School

Our class mantra has always revolved around the word “perseverance.” My hope for my students from now until forever is that they live lives with perseverance to be problem solvers no matter what adversities they may one day face. In my classroom, you constantly hear “make.it.better” because of nine out of ten times, we can. We have the power to make our writing more legible, our words more expressive, our friends feel safer by simply having the persistence to try.

Valerie Borkowski, Kindergarten
Double File Trail Elementary School

I want everyone of my students to know that they are valuable. I want them to know that they are readers, writers, scientists, mathematicians and leaders. Every student has a voice that is important in our learning community.

Emily Kupersztoch, Librarian
England Elementary School

Being an educator for me means making a difference for kids. It means helping students want to learn, helping all students succeed, allowing them to pursue their passions, and providing support along the way. It is important to lead through example, and I enjoy collaborating with other professionals, thriving on the creativity and problem-solving needed to consider the needs of all of our students and working together to do the best we can for our kids.

Krystall Williams, Grade 4
Fern Bluff Elementary School

My heart guided me to become a teacher because of the impact we have in providing students opportunities that lead to self-discovery, and learning just how important and valuable they are. My own teachers helped me see my potential, and with that they motivated and empowered me to create my own path in life based on my passions and beliefs. My mission as an educator is to ensure that each student recognizes their value, and to use their talents and dreams as a foundation of their own life journeys.

Carolina King, Grade 2
Forest Creek Elementary School

Being an educator and leader in my classroom means that I can make a child’s day brighter. I have seen how the tone I set the minute they walk in the door can lift their mood! Our room is a place where they will feel supported, loved, and challenged to help them grow! There will be routines and procedures that will nurture them and allow them to be comfortable to take risks and be themselves!

Mary Lutz, Grade 3
Forest North Elementary School

My goal is to give students the tools and confidence to overcome challenges they may encounter on daily basis. I want my students to become kind leaders who look out for those who need it most.

Cynthia Healy, Physical Education
Gattis Elementary School

Being an educator is something I have always wanted to do. Growing up, I had many role models for teachers I loved and respected. I hope in some small way I can give my students what my teachers gave to me — something to look forward to each and every day.

Ann Pruitt, Grade 3
Great Oaks Elementary School

More than anything, I want my students to live simple, humble, genuine, unpretentious lives. As cliche as it may sound, my hope is for them to value and truly care about all people and animals. I strive to inspire, empower, and genuinely love my students. Through me, I hope they learn to honor others, be kind, compassionate, and shine their light in the world for years to come!

Torro Burch-Wilson, 3rd Grade
Herrington Elementary School

My philosophy as a teacher is that all students can learn, all students are gifted in some way, and all students need to have the opportunity to learn and be assessed in a manner that takes into account each of their gifts. I became a teacher to reach and teach one student at a time, ensuring that they can learn in a manner that’s best for them and give them the opportunity to show what they know in a manner that allows them to shine.

Kristie Campo, Behavior Specialist
Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School

Being an educator not only means teaching new content each day but doing everything necessary to ensure all students have all they need (e.g., food, quiet space, safety) to be able to learn at their best. Educational leadership is guiding the talents and energies of teachers, students, and parents toward achieving common educational goals.

Terri Strode, Librarian
Jollyville Elementary School

I chose to be an educator to leave a positive impact on my community for future generations. My mission is to help students learn to be life long readers as I believe reading empowers and I hope to instill in my students a sense of community, pride, and self-worth so that as they move on into adulthood, they have a foundation for success.

Wynn Ferrier, Grade 4
Laurel Mountain Elementary School

I teach because I was blessed with teachers who never stopped believing in me. I teach because every day I see the faces of those who will transform what we do and how we do it. I teach because it puts me in place in society where competing & creative ideas are encouraged, not feared. I teach because it makes me alert to possibilities. I teach to create new possibilities. I teach because it is worth it.

Carol Bryan, Interventionist
Live Oak Elementary School

I chose to become a teacher because I want to make a difference in children’s lives. I want to inspire them to become life-long learners and to believe in themselves. I hope to instill in my students a passion for wanting to learn and want to be the change they want to see in the world today. I want them to become the next greatest problem solvers.

Maria Luisa Jaimes, Kindergarten Dual Language
Old Town Elementary School

Being an educator and a leader in my classroom means to have a daily opportunity to deliver culturally responsive teaching to a culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse student population. My classroom is the place where I can plant the desire for success in my students from early years through the development of a deep sense of trust, respect, and connection.

Lori Marchegiano, Grade 2
Pond Springs Elementary School

I chose to become a teacher when my child struggled in school. Knowing that she had so much to offer, I was determined to find a way to ensure her success. At that point, I realized that by making a difference in a child’s life, I was simultaneously making a difference in mine. My mission is to leave a positive impact on future generations by teaching each child to think critically, problem solve independently, communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and advocate for themselves in a safe, caring, supportive environment that addresses their social and emotional needs for overall continued growth and success.

Becky Spillers, Grade 5
Purple Sage Elementary School

Being a teacher means finding personal success in the success of our students. This often requires a delicate balancing act of teacher, advocate, and friend. But in the end, every moment of celebration, frustration, and worry are worth it to see the joy of learning on a child’s face.

Yvonne Saldana, Grade 4 Dual Language
Robertson Elementary School

I chose to be a teacher because I’ve always enjoyed finding new ways to help struggling children learn. As a child I struggled to learn myself; it was my mother’s unwavering conviction that I could learn that allowed her to not give up on me! When I would spell my name wrong, or forget my phone number after we’d just practiced it a million times or if I was inventing words as I read to her from a book- she never gave up on me. She believed in me. Sometimes it just takes a little more thinking “outside of the box” to explain concepts to children. That’s what I enjoy about teaching! The creative aspect! All students learn in different ways, once you find their best learning style you can tap into unlimited knowledge and learning potential.

Stacey Daniel, Grade 5

Sommer Elementary School

I want to instill in my students that setting goals and reaching them is possible. It’s just finding the right path along the way. I have a wall in my room where each student wrote a goal they wanted to set for themselves during 5th grade on a small circle; then they decorated the front of it, so no one but myself and them knows what they set as their goal. In the middle of all the “dots” is a quote that I came up with, “Goals are intentional. It’s just connecting the dots.”

Laura Reeb, Librarian
Spicewood Elementary School

For me, teaching is a prominent place to make a positive impact on the lives of others. I love helping students understand that everyone has unique strengths and to celebrate differences. I want students who go through Spicewood to realize that they can overcome obstacles and follow dreams. So many books show examples of this, and being a librarian allows me the flexibility to focus on creating and using innovative and fun technology.

Stephanie Claypool, Resource/Inclusion

Teravista Elementary School

When I was in high school, I volunteered in our life skills program. I loved every minute of it. After having a special needs child of my own, I knew that I was meant to work with students with disabilities. As an educator, I want to help my students achieve to the best of their abilities. I want them to feel proud of their accomplishments and know that they are worth fighting for. I will always be an advocate for my students both in the classroom and as they navigate through life.

Cindi Mireles, Special Education
Union Hill Elementary School

I chose to because I love learning and wanted students to love learning as well. My mission is to teach students to be life long global learners.

Katie Leining, Instructional Technology Specialist

Voigt Elementary School

My work each day is not just about the students in front of me, but about how they impact their community and our world. Every day I lead my students and school in a way that models the positive impact they can have on the people around them. I hope that they understand the ripple effect that can take place when they spread kindness and empathy, continue to learn, and do something for the greater good.

Misty Allen, Grade 5
Wells Branch Arts Integration Academy

I love to watch as a child begins to understand a new concept, see a new connection, or gains a new understanding of something they were struggling with. The pride they feel is showing all over their face, and I love knowing that I helped them accomplish that. As an educator, my main mission is to help every child grow into a more respectful, independent, determined learner. I want to know that the year they spent with me, made them a better person.