Round Rock ISD teachers are rock stars, and although they may not be in their classrooms, they continue to do great things every day. Each year, the District, along with school districts across the state, recognize their Teachers of the Year and honor them for the excellence and passion they share with students. Their peers and administration elected each campus Teacher of the Year (TOY) in recognition for their contribution in the classroom and throughout the campus learning community. These teachers are up for a chance to be selected as the District’s Elementary TOY, announced in early May. District winners will have the opportunity to go on and compete for the state TOY title.

NOTE: The District and State Teacher of the Year program awards 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.

Antonius Jackson, 5th Grade
Anderson Mill Elementary School

I became a teacher so that I could help the next generation, just like my teachers helped me. I want to be able to help kids believe in themselves, and also become their best selves so that they are successful in life and they become whatever they want to be. That is my mission as an educator. I want to be someone who helps open doors of potential.

Petra Medina, 5th Grade Dual Language
Berkman Fine Arts Integration Academy

Being an educator and leader means that I set the example by holding myself to the highest expectations possible for myself. If I don’t keep myself to high expectations, how can I ask that of my students? I also see it as my duty to model ethical and moral responsibilities and to educate my students about those ethics and responsibilities we owe to each other. Being an educator is a tremendous responsibility, and I approach it with a lot of respect. I am honored to have this job, and I am mindful of never taking it to grant it. With that in mind, I strive to keep learning about my job and how I can always improve upon it. As a leader in the classroom, this responsibility will never cease.

Lori Keller, 4th Grade
Blackland Prairie Elementary School

I hope I instill in my students a drive always to be the best you can be. I hope that they will continue to push and challenge themselves academically, but they will also be good community leaders. I hope that they will stand up for the underdog and continuously work to improve the world for everyone.

Madison Kennedy, Kindergarten
Bluebonnet Elementary School

I chose to become a teacher because working with kids and seeing them succeed in something has always been a love of mine. Through babysitting and working in daycares growing up to mentoring elementary students in high school and college, I knew that this was the path that was meant for me. Each day brings something new, and that is what keeps this role so engaging and fun! My mission is to make sure all students feel support in whatever journey they are going through, academically, socially, or emotionally.

Taylor McGinnis, 2nd Grade
Brushy Creek Elementary School

Being a leader in the classroom means that I have to be open, honest, and real with my peers and students. I can show my faults and hardships to my students but also show them how I will overcome and triumph during hard times.

Natalie Hubert, Instructional Technology Specialist
Cactus Ranch Elementary School

I became an educator because I believe that all children are capable of learning and thriving and that children are our future. Education is the greatest gift we can give our future; I think that educators have the most significant purpose on the planet. My mission as an educator is to instill belief in my students that they can achieve anything.

Dennis Burns, Physical Education
Caldwell Heights Elementary School

Teaching gives me a chance to create a healthy concept of what a student’s future can be! You have to get through to students that you don’t have to be an athlete to be healthy. You don’t have to look like anyone else to be healthy. Be you and be smart with your decisions.

Rachel Mackey, 5th Grade
Callison Elementary School

Being an educator and leader in the classroom means that we work together to help all teachers succeed so that all students can succeed. How my coworkers are doing is very important to me and teachers who feel valued and empowered turn around and empower others. Being a leader is really being one who serves, helps others get what they need, and ultimately leading by example. Being a leader in the classroom means that anyone can come to me for encouragement, to collaborate, that I see you and that you are important.

Daniel Lowell, 3rd-5th Grade FAC
Canyon Creek Elementary School

After retiring from the US Navy after 24 years as a submarine sailor, I was recruited by another Special Education teacher who told me I “could make a difference” in my community. My mission is to help students “learn how to learn” in both the classroom and in practical life skills.

Katherine Baggerly, 3rd Grade
Caraway Elementary School

To me, being an educator means supporting my students academically, socially, and emotionally. As an educator, I believe it is my job to meet my students where they are and help them learn and grow in all aspects. That also means that it’s my job to model the behaviors that I want to help them grow – if I want students to know that it’s okay to make mistakes, I have to show them that I also make mistakes, but that I learn and grow from them.

Stephanie Anderson, 3rd Grade
Chandler Oaks Elementary School

When a school year ends, I hope that my students know that I cared for them. Not only during the time they walk through my classroom door, but anytime they think of me. I cared enough to inspire them to take risks, to hold them accountable, to teach them responsibility, to encourage creativity, to challenge their thinking, and to allow them to be individuals. I want them to know that they hold a special place in my heart!

Brittany Zielinski, 3rd Grade
Deep Wood Elementary School

I know there are many eyes on an educator, and I use that as an opportunity to lead by example. I let my students see me engaging in actions that I ask of them every day: collaborating, asking questions, finding new ways to grow. It is important to me that I position myself as a life-long learner so that my students see the value in always leaning into growth.

Sherrill Erwin, SLC
Double File Trail Elementary School

I love working with children, knowing I am creating an environment in which children can grow and develop into lifelong learners. I can not think of a more important job in the world where I get to come to work and change lives every day. Walking into my classroom every morning and seeing my students and the teachers I work with is an amazing honor.

Erin Rataj, 5th Grade
England Elementary School

When my students leave my classroom each year, I hope they are confident in their abilities and recognize how they can make a difference. Above all, I hope they understand how important it is to be kind to everyone.

Clint Tidwell, 3rd Grade
Fern Bluff Elementary School

Being an educator and leader in the classroom to me means that I have to be open-minded, flexible, forgiving, understanding, positive, and be willing to take a step back now and then. I love it when a student speaks up and shares a new idea that I hadn’t thought of, and I encourage them to take the lead on it to teach the rest of us. I make mistakes, own them, and show my students that it’s ok to feel upset for a bit but to take that moment and learn from it. To be an educator and leader, one has to use those moments of defeat as an opportunity to turn it into something to be proud of, to learn from, to share about, for the benefit of themselves and others.

Michelle Vogl, Instructional Technology Specialist
Forest Creek Elementary School

My job as an educator and leader in the classroom means that I am there to coach my students as they try something new. I am by their side to provide meaningful feedback so they can achieve the success they deserve. It also means that I need to challenge myself all the time so that I can increase my depth of knowledge. The more I know about a topic, the more I can teach my students.

Jill Peyton, Counselor
Forest North Elementary School

As the social-emotional teacher, I have the opportunity to empower students to embrace and love who they are. Building their capacity for emotional regulation, compassion, positive self-talk, and empowerment helps them to be the best they can be. Using these tools will enable them to face challenges in life. It will provide the resilience needed to push through those challenging moments in their life journey.

Angelica Ciernia, 5th Grade ESL-Reading
Gattis Elementary School

I hope to instill confidence in my students and the ability to believe in themselves. I lacked that for so long, and wish it was something I had as a child. I want each student to know that they are amazing and WORTH IT and that what they have to say and offer is important.

Heather Guerra, 5th Grade
Great Oaks Elementary School

To grow happy, productive adults, we should start with growing strong, confident leaders. Being a leader means being a model of what I would expect in my classroom and mirroring that into my professional life. Being a leader in collaborating with others, making mistakes, and holding myself accountable for learning from those mistakes, having crucial conversations, being a listener, and a shoulder to lean on. It also means stepping up and sharing my ideas and empowering others to share their thoughts as well!

Alyson Klaverweiden, Kindergarten
Herrington Elementary School

I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old. I love to learn, and I am passionate about passing my love of learning to my students. It is such an empowering feeling to have the ability to better yourself through knowledge. Just imagine for a moment how powerful it is that you can read and write. Now imagine being five and having that same realization! My mission is to create a safe and loving environment for my students and to feel the freedom to try and fail without judgment. To know the importance of being lifelong learners, and understanding that their ability to learn is limitless, and their capabilities are endless.

Corinne Wise, Prekindergarten
Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School

Growing up, I learned very quickly by watching my brother and sisters that there are many different types of learners. My youngest sister, Katherine, learned in a unique way, and the school system we were a part of did not have the resources, teachers, or time to help her meet her full potential. The teachers and school continuously reported to my parents about everything she was unable to do rather than her abilities. It wasn’t until high school that a teacher really saw her full potential. Katherine’s English teacher, Mrs. Roden, pushed Katherine to be her best. She encouraged her students to express themselves without fear of being corrected or put down, and more importantly, made a point to make her feel smart, valued, and needed. Seeing my parents and sister struggle so much greatly influenced my decision to become an educator.

Heather Schoger, Kindergarten
Jollyville Elementary School

I became a teacher because I love working with kids. While in college, I worked as a preschool teacher. It was during this time that I developed a passion for teaching young children. My mission as a kindergarten teacher is to provide a safe space for all students, so they can feel confident as they engage in the learning process.

Katie Pyles, Music
Laurel Mountain Elementary School

I chose to become a teacher because I love sharing the gift of music with others. Performing is great, but being able to teach others to have the skills of performing music on their own is a gift that continually gives because they can take that music and those skills everywhere. A second reason I wanted to become a teacher was because I really appreciated the relationships my teachers (especially my music teachers) created with me. I still value the relationships developed with those teachers and what they instilled in me continues to be a part of me. There’s a line from a song in Wicked that I hold dear concerning education and music “you’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.” That perfectly describes what teaching is – leaving an imprint on students that they can take with them.

Shelly Larson, Kindergarten
Live Oak Elementary School

I want my students to leave me with a love of learning. I want them to be brave enough to take risks and get excited about new knowledge for the rest of their lives.

Julia Spencer, 5th Grade
Old Town Elementary School

One thing I hope to instill in my students is the humility to learn, and with that comes acceptance of others. I hope my students will be willing to give everyone a chance, for we can learn something from each person we encounter. I also hope that they will not be derailed by failure, but rather take it as an opportunity to learn and to excel.

Nora Pettebone, 3rd Grade
Pond Springs Elementary School

My mission as an educator and as a person has always been to inspire others, to grow, to think and to act in order to engage in a meaningful life. I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to do something important. I still do. I’ve stayed in education because it is an ever evolving endeavor, that values my personal mission.

Bian Makawi, 4th Grade
Purple Sage Elementary School

I truly believe that education is the only way to make an impactful difference in our communities and our world. I want to be able to impart to young children that they can succeed and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families. I want them to know that challenges are opportunities, and persevering will lead to success.

Garrett Rimey, Counselor
Robertson Elementary School

Being an educator and a leader in the classroom means being a supportive role model. By creating an environment that acknowledges and grows through failure and vulnerability, my students can see that setbacks are just another way of knowing a comeback is just ahead.

Dana Gaskamp, 2nd Grade

Sommer Elementary School

In all honesty, I decided to become a teacher back in the 5th grade, when my teacher left the lounge carrying a soda and drinking it in front of us. I knew then that one day I would be able to drink a soda at school too! Since that day, there hasn’t been any other career that I have considered. I believe that being an educator is in my soul, and I strive every day to convey my love for teaching and learning to those around me.

Alexandra Peoples, 1st Grade
Spicewood Elementary School

One thing I would like to instill in my students is to BE THE CHANGE. That is something that I work on both personally and in my classroom. I want my students to know that if they use their passion and their courage, they can make a positive change for themselves, for others, and the world around them. I want them always to know that I will support them on their journey toward making the world a better place.

Sandy Smith, Talented and Gifted (TAG)

Teravista Elementary School

I have wanted to be a teacher since as far back as I can remember. The teachers I have encountered throughout my education, from elementary through college, have made such an enormous positive impact on my life and I have always known I wanted to do the same for others. I believe strongly that, as a teacher, I can help to change the world, one student at a time. My mission is to teach kids to believe in themselves, work hard, and to always be kind.

Ivette Aguilar, 5th Grade
Union Hill Elementary School

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to make an impact on the community, and teaching was that route for me! I love using my native language to teach, and seeing the growth and confidence in my students is the best feeling. As a dual language educator, my mission will always be to seek equity inside and outside of my classroom. I am here to help pave paths towards brighter futures by ensuring students’ needs are met and, most importantly, that they see their language and differences as assets.

Brooklyn Beatty, 4th Grade ESL

Voigt Elementary School

My mom loves to tell a story about me as a young child, begging her to go work in her classroom during Mother’s Day Out. From about the age of 4, I would go with her to her class and tell her, “I want a job,” so she would give me a “job.” I loved to organize things and set up her classroom. I remember her saying you are going to be the best little teacher someday. She made me believe I could be a teacher. My mission is to make every child feel that they can be what they want to be!

Amy Palermo, Librarian
Wells Branch Arts Integration Academy

One of my favorite pieces of literature is O’Henry’s short story collection, The Four Million. In 1872, a prominent New York socialite created a registry of what she considered the only 400 New York families that were worthy of knowing. In response to this, O’Henry wrote The Four Million, insisting that EVERYONE is worth knowing! While we might not come from the same circumstances, literacy and education can get us where we need and want to go. It can be the great leveler of the playing field. That is why I became a teacher and librarian. My mission is to connect learners with resources that will help them re-imagine their futures.