Teachers of the Year for the 2013-2014 school year were recognized by the PTISD Board of Trustees at their regular meeting, Monday, September 9, 2013.
"I congratulate all for the work they are doing to enrich the lives and the future of their students,” said Dr. TJ Farler, PTISD Superintendent.
"These teachers were recognized by their peers as outstanding educators and they make a difference in the lives of students each and every day. They demonstrate the skill and dedication that exemplify the very best of the most demanding, yet rewarding profession in our community,” she said.
This event is the first of several recognitions these teachers will receive throughout the year, including monthly celebrations hosted by the Rotary Club of Longview.
The seven PTISD Teachers of the Year for 2013-14 are:
Primary Campus – Rianna Williams
Elementary Campus and also District Elementary Teacher – Dawn Grogan
Intermediate Campus – Claudia Ruiz-Mendoza
Middle School Campus – Lisa Barry
Jr. High Campus – Todd Guest
High School Campus and District Secondary Teacher – Jennifer Solomon
EXCEL Campus – Laurie Kitchen
PACE Campus – Becky Alexander
Campus Teachers of the Year are chosen during the latter part of each school year by their principals and peers. A panel then selects district-wide elementary and secondary honorees.
HIGHLIGHTS ABOUT OUR
2013-2014 PTISD Teacher’s of the Year
Pine Tree Primary’s Teacher of the Year is Rianna Williams. Rianna says that she has always wanted to be a teacher and has never regretted her career choice. She has been in education for 11 years, and this is her 6th year in Pine Tree. In addition to teaching Kindergarten at the Primary School, Rianna serves as a Lead Teacher and a Google Guide. She has also organized the annual Fall Carnival for her campus and led many technology trainings. Rianna not only wants to teach her students to read and do math, but she wants to teach them to love school.
Dawn Grogan is the Elementary Teacher of the Year and the District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Dawn has been teaching the first grade at PTE since 2010 and has been a Lead Teacher since 2012. She takes an active role in the integration of technology into her classroom and in her school by providing opportunities for her students to use computers and iDevices and by training and supporting administrators and fellow teachers. Dawn stays up to date with the latest research and technology and strives to be the most positive influence she can be for each child that crosses her path.
Pine Tree Intermediate’s Teacher of the Year is Claudia Ruiz-Mendoza. Claudia became a teacher after working for 17 years in the business world. She stated that she has never regretted giving up her high salary for teaching because she is rewarded in many different ways now. Claudia stays everyday until 5:00 pm for after school tutorials and she started the Computer Club which meets on Saturdays. Claudia received a grant to integrate technology in her classroom. She now has a classroom equipped with the latest technology that she uses to meet the needs of all of her students. Claudia believes in giving her very best and expects the same from her students.
Lisa Barry is the Middle School’s Teacher of the Year. Lisa taught in Pine Tree for 10 years but has since moved to teach in Jefferson where she has lived since 2000. She believes that, as a teacher, she has the awesome responsibility to be her student’s mentor and guide, albeit for a short period of time. Lisa stated that seeing growth in her students academically will always be a priority, but seeing them grow toward becoming lifelong learners is her greatest reward.
The Jr. High Teacher of the Year is Todd Guest. Todd has taught 8 grade Science in Pine Tree since 2009. Prior to teaching in Pine Tree, he taught at Trinity School of Texas for 14 years. He believes that his responsibility is not merely to facilitate but to provide avenue for discover. He feels that being a laboratory science teacher lends itself to the freedom of exploration by his students. Todd truly wants to use his abilities to teach and inspire others. He considers himself inordinately fortunate to be called a teacher.
Jennifer Lambie Solomon is the High School and District Secondary Teacher of the Year. She is the Math and Science Inclusion Co-Teacher for grades 9-12 as well as the Lead Teacher for Special Education. Jennifer has been in education for 10 years where she has taught at the Elementary level, the Secondary level, and served as the Director of a Pre School. This is her third year at Pine Tree High School and she loves that as a co-teacher she get to work directly with and observe other teachers and be a part of an educational team that can positively meet the educational needs of her students. Jennifer strives each day to be an outstanding teacher where she approaches each student as a person first, understands their struggles, involves parents, and builds on their successes.
The EXCEL High School Teacher of the Year is Laurie Kitchen. Laurie believes that the EXCEL High School is the perfect fit for her because she gets to do more one-on-one tutoring, questioning, and listening which helps her influence and positively change one life at a time. Her favorite quote is, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care” by Theodore Roosevelt which Laurie says sums up her attitude toward teaching. She feels that the rewards of helping her at-risk students succeed at something they thought was impossible are amazing.
Becky Alexander is the PACE Teacher of the Year. Becky has been teaching in Pine Tree ISD for 12 years and has taught Math at the PACE campus since it opened in 2008 where she is a positive influence on her students and coworkers. She enjoys being able to help students who have made unwise decisions on a one-to-one basis and keep them on track academically with their home campus. She cares greatly about her students and takes an active role when working with the campus teachers so all of her students can be successful.