Walking out of her home on a Tuesday morning, Forest North Elementary School Counselor Jill Peyton was surprised with the news that she had been named the District’s 2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year (TOY).
Surprising her with the news was Superintendent Steve Flores, Ph.D., Forest North Principal Amy Jacobs, and District staff.
Peyton was named the Teacher of the Year at Forest North and was selected among 33 elementary educators to represent the District at the regional competition. She has a total of 42 years of experience in education, 18 of which have been in her current position.
“My journey has been remarkable,” Peyton said. “The students throughout the years have taught me so much about courage. The students are my heroes. My own school experience was challenging at times. Through those experiences, I knew I could make a difference.”
Peyton always knew her goal was to become a teacher, she said. That goal drove her to begin her teaching elementary and special education students. Eventually becoming a counselor, she has found her calling and has since spent more than 20 years teaching students about social and emotional skills.
“Much of my work involves connecting students to our community. In developing themselves as human beings, they achieve higher levels of academic success,” Peyton said. “Building their capacity for emotional regulation, compassion, positive self-talk, and empowerment helps them do better in their other subject areas. My favorite lessons are related to a growth mindset. The brain is amazing! I love to educate students about the interconnections of emotions and logic.”
Continuing to grow as an educator, she is always looking for the best ways to introduce new lessons and concepts to her students and work with teachers to incorporate social and emotional learning into their curriculum. This effort has also included connecting her campus with restorative practices, which is a proactive tool to help educators and students build and sustain relationships.
Peyton will continue to the 2021 Region 13 Elementary Teacher of the Year competition, where she will represent Round Rock ISD in hopes of becoming the 2021 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.
“Jill Peyton is an amazing school counselor, teacher, colleague, and friend,” Jacobs said. “The inspiring work she does with Forest North students and families changes lives every day, and we are so happy she is a long time member of our community. Her passion, commitment, and love for students goes above and beyond her title. She is a beloved member of our school family!”