Each year, Aldine ISD honors the Campus Teachers of the Year. And as always, the Teacher of the Year Committee had the difficult task of selecting the two District Teachers of the Year from a group of dedicated educators who have demonstrated passion, drive and excellence in teaching. This year, the committee named Eva Lanczos and Kathleen Flores (pictured to the right, l-r) Secondary Teacher of the Year and Elementary/Intermediate Teacher of the Year, respectively. Please take a moment to read their teaching philosophies and those of the other talented 72 educators to gain a little insight into how they interact with their students to guide them to learn and how they and their students engage with each other with course material.
Elementary & Intermediate Teacher of the Year
Hinojosa EC/PK Center
The following quote by Gene Kranz, flight director for Apollo 13, best summarizes my teaching philosophy: We don’t fail. Failure is inconceivable in our work. Every day when I approach my classroom, students and families, my goal is success for all. I need to prepare and educate the whole child and his or her family. As I enter my classroom and prepare for those that follow, I want to be sure that everyone feels welcome and safe at all times.
Secondary Teacher of the Year
MacArthur High School
My dedication to the teaching profession is fueled by my belief in the power of mutual love and respect among students, parents, and teachers. I take pride in knowing my students and strive to foster lasting relationships with them and their families. Recognizing educational inequalities and promoting equality for the less fortunate is my passion. It is never too late to show students the power of knowledge and love. Getting up every morning excited to go to work is just an added bonus.
Elementary & Intermediate Level
Eckert Intermediate School
Becoming a great teacher is the fruit of striving to become the greatest student. It’s a constant state of humility. My teaching purpose is fulfilled in helping others shine brighter. Simplify information so that thoughts and questions manifest into actions and answers. The extras are always a necessity…. My goal is to help youth pursue excellence. So I plan to influence the minds, the physiques, the demeanors, the potential – the lives – of youth! I’m ecstatic about the teaching process!
Sammons Elementary School
Although it is an intricate part of education, teaching goes beyond core subjects and standardized tests. It is a lifelong learning process where teachers guide students toward their future career. Therefore, inspiring students is integral to ensuring their success and encouraging them to fulfill their potential. I take to heart the phrase from an unknown author that states, “A good teacher is like a candle-it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
As educators, we are teaching, educating and mentoring. Teaching is a craft that many work hard to develop and hone into something magnificent. Teaching is a lot like music. When you remove the genres of music the main goal is to entertain, to touch the lives of those listening, and to somehow relate to the consumer on some level. My goal in teaching is to educate, touch the lives of those listening, and somehow relate to the students on some level.
Nimitz High School
Teaching is an art, a science, a craft that must be must be honed to perfect. At a teacher’s fingertips exists the power to change the lives of so many individuals. Teaching is a huge responsibility filled with endless opportunities. An outstanding teacher seeks to provide these opportunities for today’s youth. A teacher must believe everyone has the potential to succeed, to achieve, and to accomplish great goals. I am a teacher because I believe in every child’s potential to succeed.
Campus Teachers of the Year
Aldine Middle School
My teaching philosophy is to develop independent, critical thinkers who are creative problem solvers and effective communicators. I feel that teaching is a profession with great responsibilities and infinite rewards. The rewards are immeasurable due to the unforeseen impact that one makes on the future of students. Like planting seeds that grow into trees that scatter additional seeds, teaching provides incalculable opportunities to positively affect other human beings.
Aldine Ninth Grade School
When children are little, we ask them questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” They give wonderful answers like: president. As kids mature their answers become less adventurous. As teachers it is our responsibility to help students maintain that confidence and sense of adventure in all things imaginable. It is our job as teachers to not only prepare students for the future that awaits them but also to help them realize that everything they ever imagined is attainable.
Aldine High School
You can be the smartest person in the world, but not everyone can teach. Teachers must have a big heart, an unwavering belief in what has to be done, the ability to teach, and the attitude that they can do the job to make a difference in students’ lives. Each day, I must find a way to break through my students’ fears of math while rebuilding their self-confidence and their math abilities. Each student must realize that he or she can be successful even when faced with the most daunting tasks.
Teachers must provide a welcoming environment that embraces a holistic approach. A classroom must foster a climate that provides children with experiences that facilitate both academic and social development. My classroom embraces cultural diversity and activities that are conducive to creative expression and fulfillment of achievement cycles. And I challenge students every day to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and successful lifelong learners.
Good teachers instill a love of learning by demonstrating how and when to apply lessons to real life. They also teach students how to explore the world around them. I believe it is necessary to adjust my teaching style to accommodate and meet the needs of all the students in my classroom. It is my responsibility as their educator to facilitate learning in order for them to comprehend and enjoy every lesson.
Black Elementary School
I tell my students, “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” Determination is the key to success for all students. A child may not have the skill or the gift to do something he or she likes, but he or she can always learn and improve with practice. My goal is that they find pleasure in learning while increasing their knowledge, confidence and success. These are skills that will help them become successful as adults.
Bussey Elementary School
I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure and caring environment in which to grow intellectually. As an educator I strive to provide an environment that promotes learning by teaching through the use of various techniques and setting high expectations. Having consistency in the classroom and good classroom management provides students with the tools needed to succeed.
Calvert Elementary School
I believe that every student can learn and that an effective teacher can reach every student. I strive to make my classroom a safe environment where my students can explore and learn without fear of making a mistake. Independence is taught and expected inside my classroom. I believe in a variety of hands-on activities and lots of action on the part of the students. They learn by doing. If they make a mistake, we try again. If they make a mess, they clean it up. No worries!
Caraway Intermediate School
I believe that all students can learn. Every one of them has been given a unique ability to be whatever they want and to achieve whatever they desire. It is the educator’s job to pull out of students the “gold,” which is that invaluable object that promotes success. We do this by uplifting each student and celebrating each child’s uniqueness. When children understand their value, there is no limit to how far they can go!
Carmichael Elementary School
I am a firm believer that all children should have the right to learn and be able to express themselves in a nurturing and safe environment. My classroom is a caring, safe, and equitable environment where each child can blossom and grow. I teach children to become responsible members of our classroom community by using strategies such as class meetings, positive discipline, and democratic principles. In return, they learn to become responsible, contributing members of society.
I believe that in order to impact a diverse student population I must be an effective teacher by using a combination of learning styles so that the students and I can work together in making class enjoyable and comfortable. I like to motivate and direct students while maintaining their interest level and recognizing their achievements. I believe that time spent teaching is never lost for all teachers can influence someone.
I believe that teaching is a lifelong learning process. Each and every day educators learn new techniques and strategies to teach. Educators are presented with a unique community of learners that all vary not only in their abilities but also in their learning styles. It is my job to create an atmosphere where students can develop a love of learning.
Carver High School
The first time a challenging student said “thank you” solidified my teaching philosophy. If you keep offering students opportunities to succeed, the ones who really want to, regardless of how they act in class, will rise to meet your expectations.
The reality of a student struggling with basic language skills forms the core of my teaching philosophy. It is the teacher’s responsibility to find each student’s learning style to ensure the most effective means of teaching. Successful teachers enjoy what they do, they take every opportunity to connect, they make a difference and they have fun! Teachers must learn to seize the day!
Conley Elementary School
I believe that the main goal of education is to enrich the lives of students while producing critical thinkers and lifelong learners who are, most importantly, socially responsible. Education is about teaching students, not subjects. It is about engaging students in their learning and maximizing the potential of each and every child. Education is about providing students with opportunities to be challenged and still succeed. Teachers must push kids further than they have ever gone before.
Davis High School
Since becoming a teacher, I realized a lot of what we do as educators doesn’t necessarily exist in a book nor is it told to you upon graduating from college. Teaching has to come from the heart and educators must have a genuine passion in order to truly meet the needs of each individual student. Teaching is a learning process. I’ve discovered that effective teaching is the result of trial and error, but it’s all worth it when you see the “light bulb” flash for a student who finally “gets it.”
de Santiago EC/PK Center
Students can be motivated to learn if they are in an environment that is comforting and non-judgmental. My students come from different backgrounds and often have multiple challenges. But we all have something to learn from each other, and I hope to help students be successful learners. I challenge and guide my students to give me their best effort. I am so proud to be a teacher. Every day I am rewarded when my students walk in with smiling faces ready to see what the day has in store for us.
My mission is to be a facilitator for students in their acquisition of knowledge, social skills, and success. In order for these goals to be realized, I believe that students must undergo a “paradigm shift” in mentality, an enlightenment process in their thinking, and a total shift in focus to begin making the positive strides toward their individual success. When a student makes the decision to be successful, hard work, sacrifice, and determination will ensue.
Dunn Elementary School
Good teachers work hard and are willing to do whatever is necessary to help every student achieve success. I love the moment when a student who has lost every bit of confidence is willing to give it one more try because of my encouragement. I love the moment when I see the recognition of understanding appear in their eyes. No matter how many moments of frustration I experience, the moment of success with a child is the sweetest success there is. Each student’s success is my reward.
Eisenhower Ninth Grade School
In my experience, I found that many students believe that learning math is impossible and irrelevant. I strongly believe that students can learn how to tackle any math problem if they are given opportunities to see how math is used in real-world situations.
Eisenhower High School
Because I teach government, I think of my teaching philosophy in political terms: I am a campaign manager. The job of a political campaign manager is to get candidates elected. My job is to facilitate student learning and to help students become educated, effective and responsible citizens. In order to run a successful campaign (class), I try to create a classroom conducive to learning, where students can be engrossed in a subject, expand their knowledge, and respect others’ opinions.
Ermel Elementary School
My teaching philosophy is simple: build relationships.
Escamilla Intermediate School
My educational philosophy clearly aligns with John Dewey’s progressivism approach to instruction. I am an educator who realizes students spend more waking hours with me; therefore I have a great commission to fulfill. Each student receives a safe environment for learning independently and cooperatively. I also provide rigorous instruction to promote critical thinking. And I strive to be a patient teacher who cares about educating the whole child.
Francis Elementary School
Although there are guidelines, there is no one formula or correct way in which to become an effective teacher. Each day that a teacher enters the classroom he or she will face many challenges. One of those challenges is determining how to best facilitate learning for all children. Just as there is no one formula to becoming an effective teacher, there is no one best approach to teach or educate students. We must deliver content to students in a way that they can understand and retain.
García-Leza EC/PK Center
I teach students they are safe, valued, and loved. This environment is the foundation of all learning experiences. It is also important for students to realize the purpose of their learning and to make connections to real-life experiences. This combination of building relationships and identifying purpose for learning creates students who naturally want to perform. Students are self-motivated because they are recognized for their growth and improvement rather than their level of achievement.
Goodman Elementary School
Each child is a unique individual who needs a secure and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, physically and socially. Information is available everywhere. We are facing even more fluctuating challenges than we ever have before. While technology can augment learning, it can never replace teachers or human interaction. Education is an ongoing project that is checked constantly with the goal to educate, motivate and inspire students to value lifelong learning.
Gray Elementary School
Teachers have one of the hardest careers. I truly believe that teachers are not made but are born. I come from a long line of educators who instilled me with a great passion to teach today’s youth. Teaching for me is about being opened-minded, modeling for students, continuing my education and researching best practices. Teaching requires developing a relationship with all students and maintaining constant parent communication. Honestly, teaching has been the most challenging, rewarding career.
Hall Center for Education
An educator’s job is to facilitate learning through student-centered lessons. Educators should teach skills and procedures to enable students to learn on their own and should also show students how learning can be fun and interesting. This creates independent learners who will utilize these skills in college and the workplace. It also fosters lifelong learners who enjoy learning because they want to and not because they have to.
Hambrick Middle School
Through the history content I teach, I am able to become a storyteller of opportunity. My students connect with historical figures and the hardships they faced to create a better today for all of us. They hear of the millions of lives sacrificed for our freedom and the countless people who fought for change that they so desperately believed in. It is crucial that our youth decide what legacy they will leave behind on this world and be provided with the opportunities to get there.
Every person has the potential and capacity to surpass the norm but such an achievement is not without enormous effort and great sacrifice. Accomplished educators are those who have pushed themselves through sacrifices and struggles in order to achieve greatness. Part of our profession is to be willing to do whatever it takes to meet students’ needs. My mission is accomplished when I know that I have reached a student and have made a difference in his or her life.
Hill Intermediate School
The importance of a good education was modeled in my own experience. From kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I was given good instruction by teachers who cared about my success. I knew that even though I was only with them for one year, their time and energy were devoted to my classmates and me. Through triumphs and challenges, I practice that same philosophy each year. The success of my students is important to me, so I will do whatever I can to help them achieve it.
Hoffman Middle School
Building positive relationships with the students and creating a hassle-free learning zone increases opportunity for student success. I strive to be an outstanding classroom teacher by dividing my focus between relationships and education. When my students see me as a person who cares about their success and not just a teacher, many new avenues open for learning. There is no greater reward than witnessing the students setting and accomplishing their own goals.
I exist as an educator to prepare future leaders both academically and socially to compete in a global economy. I always encourage my students to do their very best at everything. I believe that outstanding teachers should inspire children to love learning as much as they love teaching. I instill in my students that education is a journey, not a race. I realize that I have the opportunity to prepare young people to become responsible, respectful, and productive citizens in our society.
Johnson Elementary School
Effective educators must have the passion and desire to teach! They should provide the students with a wide range of instructional strategies that will meet the needs of all students. Every child learns differently and educators should strive to find the best ways to teach each student. Building positive relationships with parents, teachers, and students has a great impact on children’s education. Outstanding teachers know the students’ backgrounds to better understand and to help them succeed.
Jones EC/PK/K Center
I love being a teacher. I was predestined for it! Teaching is a demanding career that is truly a labor of love. Teachers wear so many hats in order to meet students’ needs and to help them be successful. My classroom is their first educational experience for many of my students. It is vital to celebrate any growth they achieve to build a strong foundation and instill in them a lifetime love of learning. Every day my students inspire me to teach and to continue learning.
Over the years, I have experienced that all children have a desire to learn and can learn as long as they are given the opportunity. An outstanding teacher is passionate about teaching and is not afraid to step out of the box. Small group instruction and creative products are necessary to help students succeed. Inclusion of all students in my classroom helps build a strong rapport between the students and teacher that encourages all students to accomplish their academic goals.
Keeble EC/PK Center
It is my belief that each child is a unique individual who possess a need for security and nurturance. As an educator, I provide an atmosphere that is safe, supportive and respectful. The ultimate reward in teaching is the opportunity to educate students with a curriculum that is relevant to their lives, interests and experiences. When I provide this, students feel they are partners in their education and are engaged and motivated to learn.
Kujawa EC/PK Center
I believe every child is due the best possible education to prepare them for life. Regardless of his or her socioeconomic background, every person is born with the ability to learn. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to find creative ways to rekindle that willingness and make education interesting for those students who need an extra nudge. Through creative, multi-faceted lesson plans and good classroom management, each student can be provided with a productive learning experience.
Kujawa Elementary School
My teaching philosophy derives from knowing that children can succeed when teachers meet their needs. Each year, I strive to do things differently and set higher expectations for students, including myself. Learning should be an exciting adventure for students as well as the facilitator. There is no greater reward than seeing children succeed due to dedicated teachers.
My role as teacher is to interconnect a wide range of techniques and strategies. My goal is to make a difference with every child I have the privilege to educate. Educating means being aware of every child’s abilities and finding ways of achieving successful development: educationally, emotionally and behaviorally. I am a facilitator of learning and I am an advocate for students’ academic success. To achieve my goals, I utilize tools available to create the best possible learning environment.
Lewis Middle School
C.B. Neblette once said, “Teachers should guide without dictating, and participate without dominating.” This describes my teaching philosophy and my personal teaching style. I believe teachers should be partners in education rather than strict authoritarian teachers. They should role model and guide students, especially through inquiry, to ensure students are engaged in their learning, communicating ideas, and are collaborating with teachers and fellow students.
MacArthur Ninth Grade School
According to Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. I believe an education has the ability to impact, to transform, and to empower. I am committed to ensuring that each of my students also recognizes the power of education. When I get them to take responsibility for their own education then my purpose as a teacher is fulfilled. I am here to teach, to serve, and to inspire.
Magrill Elementary School
Successful people aren’t always the brightest. They have simply mastered the art of adapting to change, analyzing information and applying it to solve problems, and maintaining good relationships with others. I apply this concept in my class where I create a student-led learning environment. I encourage students to ask questions to direct how a lesson flows. It is my duty to empower students with their learning and to lead them to find the answers they seek.
Marcella Intermediate School
My goal is to find ways for everyone to learn math. I create an environment that is exciting, and I incorporate many techniques to ensure total comprehension. I want my students to understand and retain concepts. I am also keenly aware that I am a role model to my students and try to lead by example. When students leave my classroom they understand the importance of education. I am proud of my chosen profession. Teachers absolutely play a vital role in society and in students’ success.
Mendel Elementary School
My philosophy is simple: Love what you do and instill a passion for learning in students. Outstanding teachers not only understand children’s need to be thinkers, creators, investigators, and problem solvers but also permit this to be practiced in the classroom. Teachers have the opportunity to influence a child’s life in countless ways. This is why I strive to be just a small part of the great impact that will stem from teachers before me and long after me in my students’ lives.
Nimitz Ninth Grade School
Great teachers explain things to students until they understand it; then the knowledge gained is theirs forever. I teach my students to understand the material, not memorize it. I demonstrate the concepts in ways that will engage the students. When students truly grasp a concept, they can master it. I know they understand; I know they have learned; I know they can succeed. Someone once told me, “If they didn’t learn it, you didn’t teach it.” I am a teacher because they understand.
Odom Elementary School
Certainly, I find my goals as an educator to be many. Most importantly, they are driven by the desire of accomplishing student success. My goals are to provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning, to promote student academic achievement and to build a strong community of learners. To accomplish my goals, I use a variety of strategies centered on student-based research. Without a doubt, the unity of the goals mentioned above helps me promote student academic success.
Oleson Elementary School
By observing student academic progress, teachers can skillfully adjust their teaching styles and instructional deliveries to meet the needs of all students. I foster a positive learning environment to motivate students. It is imperative teachers know their learners, use verbal instruction as well as visual aids, and incorporate real-life experiences in their lessons to capture students’ hearts. Teachers must praise students for their efforts to build self-esteem and instill a desire to learn.
Orange Grove Elementary School
I believe that every student is capable of learning when provided with the right tools for his or her needs. It is the teacher’s responsibility to seek out the learning style of each of his or her students. My goal as an educator is to ensure that each student leaves my classroom with strong academic and social skills to be successful. I want students to be problem solvers as well as to take responsibility for their own actions toward others and to take responsibility for their own learning.
Parker Intermediate School
My goal is to provide students with a safe and nurturing environment to encourage a lifelong love of learning. General Douglas MacArthur once said, “There is no substitute for victory.” Victory in the classroom means student success, and I strive to provide as many opportunities for achievement as possible. Students learn best when they assume an active, participatory role in their own learning process. I meet them where they are academically and help them progress forward.
Plummer Middle School
It is my belief that through education, all children have the ability to learn and have the right to a quality education. All youth, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or capabilities, should have the opportunity to learn. This should encompass professional, highly qualified teachers who are dedicated, passionate and caring about both education and life. As a result, students will receive vital skills and the tools necessary to build a successful and prosperous life.
Rayford Rd. Intermediate School
It is imperative that students feel a teacher’s passion for the subject matter and his or her desire for students’ success. Students must also trust their teacher in order to be willing to take risks. In turn, they will develop their own desire to learn and find success. As an educator, it is necessary to connect with my students as an ensemble and individually, but just as importantly, I must build connections with those who are not my students. Teachers can make a difference in every child’s life.
I believe that instructional leaders must be proactive to help close the achievement gap and to prepare students for a globally competitive workforce. I have high expectations for all students and expose them to rigorous curricular challenges. As an educator, it is imperative to take the time to develop personal connections with students to provide a sense of trust and caring, affording them a critical ingredient to taste academic achievement.
Reece PK/K Center
I believe a good teacher must teach students with love, which will leave an imprint in their lives. I believe teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. My hope as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students as I share my own passion for learning with them. I take great joy in knowing that I have made a difference in so many lives. If I had to do it all over again, I would without a doubt choose teaching as my profession.
Every child has the potential to succeed. BUT it takes a whole village — family, friends, teachers and community members — to help students. We must all work together to recognize and nurture students’ gifts and talents. Being the village does not mean to control students, but to guide, direct, and encourage them along the way. We must get students to the place where they are mature enough academically, physically, and emotionally to take the reins and to help continue building the village.
Shotwell Middle School
I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, academically and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. I truly believe that all students are capable of becoming productive individuals in our society.
Education is intended to assist students in the acquisition of skills, knowledge, attitudes and competencies needed to live productively, grow significantly, and serve meaningfully in a modern, multicultural society. I believe every child is valued and deserves an education and should be taught that the future of the world and its quality of life depends on an educated citizenry.
Spence Elementary School
If children are given a positive, nurturing learning environment, they will not just learn but become lifelong learners. Diligence, enthusiasm, and rigor are the three building blocks to a successful teacher. The teacher is one of the most important persons in a child’s life. My goal is to impact students’ destinies by developing confident, educated individuals who yearn to obtain a post-secondary education.
Stehlik Intermediate School
Every student has the right to equal access and resources to learn effectively as well as to be provided with a quality educational experience that challenges them. By teaching my students to ask their own questions, I am enabling them to build critical thinking skills that are dire for becoming active participants in our complex world. By providing them with the tools to learn and produce quality products, my students are passionate, prepared and eager to enter college and the competitive world beyond.
Stephens Elementary School
There is no greater contribution to the educational world than putting your heart into what you do every single day. Without question, this is what I do. As teachers, we educate, counsel, embrace, motivate, model, inspire, empathize, and the beat goes on. Without your heart in the mix, the drive to continue dwindles. My passion provides me with eagerness to continue learning more effective methods, to foster a learning community, and to put all my energy into being a role model for my students.
I encourage learning by creating a relaxed environment for students, stimulating conversation about concepts being presented and organizing material in a way that makes it easiest to understand. I think an effective teacher relates all learning to the real world, and by doing so makes learning concrete and meaningful to students.
Stovall Middle School
A teacher’s job goes far beyond teaching the curriculum and preparing students for a state assessment. As a teacher, you serve as a role model and mentor for students guiding them to become successful, independent young adults. Every student deserves the best education possible as well as effective leadership while attending school. Teaching is more than just a job to me. I believe that teachers have the opportunity to impact students who will in turn impact the world around them.
Teague Middle School
The teachers who taught me have influenced my teaching philosophy. I am an educator who is aware that a student has to be taught holistically (mind, body and spirit) to build character. All aspects of the learner must be engaged. My greatest accomplishment in education is having the ability to connect and build a relationship with my students. The rewards are tremendous when you know your student is endowed with the ingredients to succeed. I am so grateful that my path led me into teaching!
Thompson Elementary School
Teaching is a craft. A teacher needs to know the subject they teach and how to teach it to ensure the delivery will result in mastery. I also believe teachers must develop relationships with their students. The students must feel confident to ask questions in class or express their feelings. It is just as important to establish and follow through on the consequences associated with not following the expectations.
Victory Early College High School
It is not so much what you teach but how you help students develop skills to solve problems. We want them to be thinkers and to understand that problems are like puzzles with solutions. Learning how to step back from the process objectively and figuring out what needs to be done and how to do it, are important skills that apply to everyday life and career. Learning to work with others and becoming meta-cognitively aware of how to apply oneself to a problem are two extremely valuable skills to acquire.
Vines EC/PK Center
I believe that each child has potential. Students need a nurturing environment to grow in all areas. As a facilitator, I give students the opportunity to discover answers through critical thinking. A variety of strategies are also implemented to meet the s