New teachers excited and hopeful about helping students


New Dallas ISD teacher Samuel Cross is looking forward to teaching choir at T.W. Browne Middle School.

Cross was one of approximately 1,600 new teachers that attended a New Teacher Academy orientation event at Fair Park to learn about the district. Cross said he’s pumped and ready to start the 2015 school year.

“I’m excited about inspiring students to achieve their goals in life and in music,” he said.

Cross said that thanks to the training he received from the Alternative Certification program, he’s confident that he’s ready to successfully re-enter the classroom. Inexperience in classroom management plagued his first teaching experience in a Fort Worth school several years ago. He said things are different now, and he welcomes the chance to teach a subject he loves.

Though new to Dallas ISD, many of the teachers are not new to the profession. One thing they share is the enthusiasm of starting fresh in a new school district with new students.

That spirit of anticipation animated many at the New Teacher Academy event, with many teachers spending the day meeting peers, taking part in motivational exercises, visiting vendor booths, enjoying student performances, and hearing from district officials.

Becky Weber, who is headed to the Talented and Gifted Magnet to teach art history, creative writing and theater arts, is looking forward to exploring the arts alongside her students. Tina Sakelarakis, who will teach preschool special education at Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary, said she expects working with young students will be “fun because they’re more willing to learn, and they enjoy hands-on activities.”

C.J. Velazquez, who will teach eighth-grade special education students at Francisco Medrano Middle School, said she’s excited to join the Special Education Department and work alongside staff who share the same mission and vision.

Expressing her hopes for the Social Studies classes she will teach at Thomas Jefferson High School, Teach for America alum Catherine Sims almost bubbles with excitement.

“I’m looking forward to the kind of experience I can have in the classroom with my kids and what we can learn together,” she said. “I want to see how eager they are to learn and what they produce.”

New Teacher Academy runs from Aug. 5–12.


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