Educators and principals from all 230 Dallas ISD schools attended a recognition ceremony for the 2019-2020 Campus Teacher of the Year (CTOY).
The personnel at each school voted for their CTOY. A new rule this year meant the CTOY couldn’t have won this recognition in the past three years.
Only CTOY winners are now eligible to apply for the Dallas ISD 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year award. One elementary educator and one secondary teacher will earn the districtwide recognition.
The 2019-2020 CTOY ceremony took place at the Frontiers of Flight Museum on Oct. 30. Each winner was greeted with a medal at the front and their headshot appeared on a slideshow on the main screen.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa congratulated the winners. He spoke about witnessing the resilience of educators while visiting the schools impacted by the Oct. 20 tornadoes.
“I saw a tremendous attitude and a can-do spirit that we can overcome this. We do a great job for these students, and that’s why I am so proud of you,” Hinojosa said. “We’re honored to be here with you.”
During the ceremony, Central Market donated $50,000 to Dallas ISD to assist with disaster relief. The principals from the most affected campuses, Sandi Massey from Thomas Jefferson High School, Naomi Salas from Edward H. Cary Middle School and Phillip Potter from Walnut Hill Elementary School, received the check on the stage.
“It feels incredible just to see how Dallas residents have come on board to support all of the schools that have been damaged,” Massey said. “We understand that our community has been damaged as well. And the whole community, damaged or not, has come together and supported each other throughout this process.”
During the ceremony, Massey sat with Megan Lyons, the Thomas Jefferson teacher who won her campus’ recognition.
Lyons has worked for Dallas ISD since 2015 and teaches ninth- and tenth-grade biology. Her style of teaching is student-focused. She guides them through the subject and helps them when they get stuck.
“The learning is student-focused, as opposed to the teacher holding all the knowledge and just giving them it,” Lyons said. “I have students working in groups of four all the time and with partners. They’re figuring out all the things they need to know for biology, together. And then I just come in as reinforcement.”
Principal Lourdes Morales from John J. Pershing Elementary School is among the principals whose school was also damaged by the storm. After the tornado impacted approximately 20 schools, students from Pershing had classes at the Alfred J. Loos Athletic Complex for four days.
“It’s important that we recognize publicly those people that work hard to provide the best educational opportunities,” she said. “That motivates other people to work hard and contribute with everything that they have.”
Morales sat with Joy Nzeadibe, an instructor who teaches preschool children with disabilities at Pershing. Nzeadibe has taught in Dallas ISD schools for more than 23 years; two years after her family migrated from Nigeria.
For her, teaching is about two things: joy and kindness.
“I put in the kind of effort, with joy, with singing, dancing, all the way. And the children recognize that they can learn by what I do,” Nzeadibe said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. You can learn. I believe that every child is able to learn. But you have to put love into it, and gradually they’re going to start picking it up.”