Compassion for students drives Secondary Teacher of the Year (video)


Rachel Harrah knows that many of her students have been through struggles in their personal lives, and that drives her to brings her “A” game to class every day.

“The fact that I can be there for them as a person, and that I can also push them instructionally as an educator lets them know I am not going to let them down,” Harrah said. “And then they know that they’re not allowed to let me down, either.”

Harrah, who teachers Theater Arts at Dallas ISD’s Thomas Jefferson High School, was named 2015-2016 Secondary Teacher of the Year.

“She’s not like a lot of other teachers I’ve had in the past,” said TJ senior Vincent Perez. “She’s very passionate about what she does, she’s very passionate about her students. I am proud to call her a mentor.”

Harrah’s education career is a family affair, as her husband teachers music at Maple Lawn Elementary School. Their family itself is growing, as the couple is expecting a child in February.

“I’m here every day, I wake up every day because of the kids,” Harrah said. “I don’t want to be someone that they think of as the person who changed their life. I want them to recognize that in my class, they made the choice to change their own life.”



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