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Waco, Midway Educators Selected as Region 12 Teachers of the Year

Greg Oubre Morgan Castillo

Greg Oubre (left) and Morgan Castillo (right)



WACO, Texas - Out of 76 school districts across the 12-county education service area of Region 12, two outstanding educators have been selected for the top teaching award — the 2020 Region 12 Teachers of the Year. Greg Oubre of Dean Highland Elementary in Waco Independent School District is the Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Morgan Castillo of Woodgate Intermediate in Midway Independent School District is the Secondary Teacher of the Year. 


“We are extremely proud to have both of these remarkable educators serving kids in this area,” said Jerry Maze, Ed.D., Executive Director of ESC Region 12. “The time and energy they dedicate to their students, their peers, and the profession is truly an inspiration for others to follow.”


Elementary Teacher of the Year


Greg Oubre has been teaching for 11 years—all in Waco ISD, serving as a third-grade teacher at Dean Highland Elementary for the last six and previously as a teacher at Doris Miller Elementary.


Oubre uses a combination of the Whole Brain Teaching method, processing skill exercises, balance beams and unique gameplay to produce fast-paced, engaging lessons for his students. He also provides professional development in classroom technology, classroom management and Whole Brain teaching. Oubre believes educators must be mindful of the ever-changing environment that inner-city students are growing up in and create lessons that are engaging, rigorous and entertaining.


Oubre has helped implement and design numerous programs for summer enrichment, community and parent involvement, and a highly successful intervention program called "Dragon Camp." His innovation, creativity and drive for excellence has brought his inner-city classes back-to-back national championships in Sumdog Math Competitions, world high scores in the Achieve3000 reading program and multiple grants.


"Greg is a dynamic educator with a true passion for teaching and learning." "When you're in his classroom, Greg's energy and enthusiasm are contagious," said Dr. Hazel Rowe, interim superintendent for Waco ISD. "If you're a colleague in his building, Greg is a true mentor helping you to hone your craft. There's no doubt that Greg truly deserves this recognition."



  • Recognized twice as the top 2nd-grade teacher in Waco ISD
  • 2018/2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year for Waco ISD 
  • 2018/19 Dean Highland Outstanding Elementary Teacher
  • 2018, 2017 Sumdog Math Competition- National Champion
  • 2016 Waco ISD 2nd-Grade District Rock Star


Oubre said that as a regional award winner, he is devoted to inspiring teachers to think of possibilities, instead of limitations. "There are new ideas about teaching that are reforming education and creating incredible results," said Oubre. "For students to do great things, they need great teachers who will believe in them and challenge them. Great teachers are always learning, adapting, growing and inspiring. We must learn from our students so that we can teach them more effectively."


Oubre has a Bachelor in Liberal Arts in Social Studies and holds several certifications, including one in English as a Second Language and one as a Whole Brain Certified Instructor. The Waco ISD teacher is married to Lilly, a third-grade teacher in Midway ISD, and they have one daughter.


Secondary Teacher of the Year

Morgan Castillo
has been teaching for 15 years, with the last three as a fifth-grade science teacher at Woodgate Intermediate. Before joining Midway ISD, Castillo served as a Spanish teacher in several school districts and as an International Baccalaureate program coordinator in Waco ISD. During her early twenties, Castillo's eyes were opened to the impacts of systemic poverty and the lack of quality education through poverty exposure trips to developing countries and volunteering in under-resourced communities. Through connecting with people on a personal level and seeing the universality of struggle, Castillo chose to serve in public education, realizing the impact of quality education on a child's success. She began her teaching career in inner-city schools to better understand the challenges faced by students in urban areas.


Castillo believes creating a desire for lifelong learning empowers others and gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world. Influencing students allowed her access to impacting families as well. Over the years, Castillo taught multiple subjects at the primary and secondary levels in urban, rural and suburban communities. Her teaching style involves facilitating hands-on lessons where students explore, discuss and initiate learning activities. She integrates technology into her classroom, using virtual and augmented reality and incorporates real-world experiences to help her students make lasting connections to the lessons.


“Mrs. Castillo is very deserving of the honor,” said Midway ISD Superintendent Dr. George Kazanas. “She brings her passion for learning to the classroom and truly makes learning come alive for her students. Mrs. Castillo is a master at bringing the outside world into the classroom so her students see the relevance of science in everyday life.”



About Texas Teacher of the Year

Since 1969, the Texas Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program has honored excellence in classroom education and provided a forum to showcase many outstanding educators whose efforts and example have inspired their students, their colleagues, and the communities they serve. Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor that the State of Texas can bestow upon a teacher. Facilitated by TASA, the program annually recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.



About ESC Region 12

 Education Service Center Region 12 focuses on helping schools save money and leverage resources into the classroom. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, ESC Region 12 offers training and expert assistance to educators and school personnel in order to increase student achievement. ESC Region 12 offers effective, economical programs and services through professional development, expert assistance, direct services and alternative educator certification. Based in Waco, ESC Region 12 serves 77 school districts and 12 charter schools in Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Limestone, McLennan, Mills and Navarro counties.

Copperas Cove ISD Board of Trustees Named 2019 Regional School Board of the Year

WACO, Texas -  The Copperas Cove Independent School District Board of Trustees has been chosen by a Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) committee as the 2019 Region 12 School Board of the Year. As the Region 12 School Board of the Year, the board will be in the running to be named a 2019 Texas Honor Board, one of which will become Texas’ Outstanding School Board. 

“We commend the CCISD school board for its outstanding leadership and dedication to providing a quality education for every student in its district,” said Jerry Maze, Ed.D., executive director of Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12. “We are proud to recognize these public servants for their commitment to their students, staff and community.”

“During my 26 years in public education, I’ve never worked for a finer group of individuals whose genuine love and concern for students is continuously at the forefront of all decisions,” said Joe Burns, Ed.D, superintendent of Copperas Cove ISD. “Their dedication and support for each other, for me and the students, staff and community of Copperas Cove are unwavering.”

The Copperas Cove ISD Board is a group of seven talented and dedicated civic- and service-minded leaders. Copperas Cove ISD serves more than 8,200 students in grades Pre-K-12 with a staff of more than 1,300 teachers, administrators, and support personnel. There is one Pre-K center, six elementary schools, two junior high schools and two high schools, one being an alternative school of choice.

While the board reviews and updates policies to keep operations running smoothly and safely, the board worked cohesively with the superintendent to prepare and adopt a Vision 2021 Strategic Plan. In the area of Teaching & Learning, the plan includes a redesign of the secondary campuses to improve instruction through teacher collaboration, purposeful planning and analysis of student work. The plan also outlines strategies for expanding professional learning opportunities and implementing a social and emotional learning program that promotes the development of the whole child. This type of program raises awareness of the connection between emotional wellness and academic achievement.

Under human resources and facilities, the plan aims to explore additional avenues to attract high quality, diverse staff, develop and to develop or strengthen mentor and support programs for all departments to meet the needs of all employees. Leadership also plans to develop a master building plan that addresses innovation, safety, capacity and efficiency.

While district writing and reading scores have traditionally exceeded the state average, the board fully embraced the administration’s recommendation to adopt Balanced Literacy as the district’s framework to teach literacy. The initiative is proving to be successful as reading and writing scores have increased. The board has always provided strong support for college and career readiness programs, with the district offering an Early College Program and dual credit classes. These offerings helped students to earn a combined total of 688 college hours and 1,281 dual credits.

Additional recent district and campus recognitions include the passage of a Tax Ratification Election by nearly a 3:1 margin and completing more than $6 million of construction and renovations to district facilities.

It’s not the first time the CCISD Board of Trustees has been honored by TASA. In 2011, the board was named one of five honor boards in the state of Texas and was in the running to be named the state’s outstanding school board.

ESC Region 12 will hold a luncheon later this summer to honor the Copperas Cove ISD Board of Trustees along with the Region 12 Teachers of the Year. The state honor board will be named at the TASA/TASB Convention in September.

Copperas Cove ISD Board of Trustees Named 2019 Regional School Board of the Year

The Copperas Cove Independent School District Board of Trustees: Back Row, from left: Bob Weiss, Mike Wilburn, Jim Copeland and Superintendent Joe Burns; Front Row: Vice-President Inez Faison, President Joan Manning, S. Ann Davis and Secretary Karen Harrison.

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