Teacher Appreciation Week Spotlight: Jennifer Hatcher, Hazel Mendez Schupp and Curtis Ferguson


May 4-8 is National Teacher Appreciation Week! The National PTA in 1984 designated the first week of May as a special time to honor those who lend their passion and skills to educating children.

Like their counterparts across the nation, Dallas ISD teachers play an essential role in student success. During Teacher Appreciation Week, we invite the community to join us in recognizing the dedicated educators who wholeheartedly commit themselves to providing an exceptional educational experience for all children.

Each day this week, we will recognize three of the hundreds of exemplary educators in the five divisions of the district. As we highlight their experiences, we salute the role every teacher plays in making our schools, communities and country better places to live and work.

Today, we salute Division One teachers. Each teacher answered the same three questions: What has been your favorite moment as a teacher, what is the best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD, and what is one way in which you hope to impact students?

Jennifer Hatcher, AVID Coordinator and teacher at W.E. Greiner Middle School

One of my favorite moments as a teacher happened unexpectedly on an AVID field trip. I took my students to visit UNT in Denton and our tour guide turned out to be one of my former Greiner students! It is always so exciting to see and hear from our past students, and to see her lead our current students and talk about her journey to college was a very proud moment for me.

The best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is the people. I get to work with some of the most amazing teachers, principals, and students in the world. My colleagues are mission-driven about kids and always challenge me to give my best every day. When faced with adversity, our faculty always pulls together as a team because student success is our top priority. Most importantly, I get to work with the most amazing kids every day. Kids in Dallas are thirsty for knowledge and I’m honored to be their teacher and help them on this amazing journey.

One way I hope to impact students is to help increase the schoolwide and districtwide use of AVID strategies with all students. AVID is not just a class or program for some, but a college readiness system that can impact everyone on campus. I want our students to not only seek higher education, but be equipped with the tools necessary to be successful once they get there. With the help and support of our amazing AVID Site Team, we can close the achievement gap and prepare all students for college and career readiness!

Hazel Mendez Schupp at K.B. Polk Vanguard Elementary

My favorite moment as a teacher has been seeing my students’ dreams come true. I had the pleasure of having this particular student from second grade all the way through fifth grade. Since I met him, he had expressed his desire to attend an academy upon finishing elementary school. When the time came, we worked on his interview skills, portfolio and application. Soon enough, he came back to school holding the acceptance letter in his hands. I could not help but cry and think to myself “we made it.” I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him.

One of the best things about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is that the district offers a challenging environment that allows me to continuously improve my craft. Each year has presented a different opportunity that pushes me to grow as a professional educator while continuing to increase student achievement.

One way I hope to impact students is by equipping them with the academic and life skills that they need to be successful in their future careers. I hope that after they leave my classroom, they have the necessary tools to face the challenges in the next grade level and be college ready.

Curtis Ferguson at David W. Carter High School

On of my favorite things as a teacher was when, in 2013, my son was awarded a Community Scholars Scholarship for $250,000 to Texas Christian University while he was a student here at Carter. It was of equal honor to see that his achievement paved the way for two young ladies, here, at Carter to receive the same scholarship this year.

The best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is that it has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. One cannot be a nine-to-five teacher and be successful at helping children succeed. This is a commitment, one that requires a 24/7 dedication.

I hope to impact students simply be being there for them.

More to come…
During the week of May 18, we will continue to recognize district staff members. Readers are encouraged to visit The Hub to learn about employees whose efforts support education outside of the classroom.

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