Administrators & Leadership
Campus Leadership
    TOTY Applications Closed

    The 2025 Texas Teacher of the Year application window closed June 13, 2024. Sign up for the Of the Year mailing list below to be notified when the 2026 Texas Teacher of the Year application window opens.


    Program details available here >>>

    SOTY Nominations Closed

    The 2024 Texas Superintendent of the Year nomination window closed April 19, 2024. Sign up for the Of the Year mailing list below to be notified when the 2025 Texas Superintendent of the Year nomination window opens.


    Program details available here >>>

    SBOTY Nominations Closed

    The 2024 Texas School Board of the Year nomination window closed May 30, 2024. Sign up for the Of the Year mailing list below to be notified when the 2025 Texas School Board of the Year nomination window opens.


    Complete details available here >>>

    Press ENTER key to focus on the active panel


ESC Region 12 Award Winners 

ESC Region 12 is committed to recognizing winners in our region.

  • 2023 Outstanding School Board Banner
    Corsicana School Board of the Year

    Corsicana ISD
    Board of Trustees


    The Corsicana ISD Board of Trustees comprises seven members: Dr. Seth Brown (President), Leah Blackard (Vice President), Barbara Kelley (Secretary), Cathy Branch, Jamie Roman, Kamar Chambers, and Brad Farmer. Each is elected to at-large positions for three-year terms, representing the entire community. Every board member has a strong connection to the district – whether a graduate, parent of a current student or lifelong resident of the largest city in Navarro County. Corsicana ISD is a 5A school district with approximately 6,000 students in grades Pre-K through 12 and has 842 employees. The district has one high school, a middle school, an intermediate school and five elementary schools. 


    Read the Complete Press Release >>

  • Chris Skinner Superintendent of the Year

    Chris Skinner
    Teague ISD


    Skinner has served as superintendent of Teague ISD since 2017 and previously as a principal and director of facilities and transportation over the last 13 years. Teague ISD has three campuses and is home to 1,215 students in Freestone County. Before joining TISD, Skinner worked in Dew ISD, for the Texas Correctional Industries, and at Sam Houston State University. The longtime Teague Lion and his parents are also graduates of Teague High School.

    Leadership, management, and school climate significantly impact the success of staff and students in Teague ISD. Skinner's philosophy is to set high expectations and goals for the district and to match those with timely support and guidance. While his title is superintendent, he works as a true instructional and servant leader across all school operations and often alongside staff in the trenches. The leader of the Teague Lions is known for working hard and making tough decisions that focus on doing what is best for students and Teague ISD. Skinner is always planning for the future and working on ways to ensure the growth and success of each leader, teacher and student. He believes in consistent coaching and support to grow and make a difference in each life.


    Read the Complete Press Release >>

  • 2024 ETOTY - April Eide

    April Eide
    Robinson Primary School
    Robinson ISD


    April Eide has been teaching for 16 years in Texas public schools, spending the last five years teaching first grade at Robinson Primary School in Robinson ISD. She previously taught second and third grade at Grand Prairie ISD and second and fifth grade at Red Oak ISD.


    Eide’s sincerest passion and heart’s desire is to pour into the lives of children. She always felt unconditionally welcomed in school as a child, and her hope as an educator has been to create that same environment in her own classroom. She strives to ensure that every one of her students is not only prepared academically but also acquires the confidence and skills needed to be successful in every area of life. She works to accomplish this by cultivating a safe environment in which students are surrounded by her love and the love and encouragement of their classmates. Her passion and enthusiasm for enriching students' lives has only increased over her sixteen years of teaching.


    “April Eide represents the very best of what a teacher should be,” said Michael Hope, Ed.D, superintendent of Robinson ISD schools. “Each day, her mission is to help her students grow in knowledge, skills and, most importantly, caring for others. April is a blessing to our students, staff and this great profession. We are excited to see her recognized and celebrated as the Region 12 Elementary Teacher of the Year.”


    Read the Complete Press Release >>

  • Katelin Kelly

    Katelin Kelly
    Lake Belton High School
    Belton ISD


    Katelin Kelly has taught for five years, teaching literature and creative writing at Lake Belton High School in Belton ISD for the last two years. She previously taught social studies and language arts for three years at Little Wound Middle School in Kyle, South Dakota, until 2014. Kelly took a break from teaching to continue her education from 2014 to 2016 and then worked as the Managing Editor at the Bat City Review before returning to teaching in 2021.

    While teaching at Little Wound Middle School and the Pine Ridge Reservation, Kelly learned the importance of centering student voice and creative teaching as a pathway to creative classroom spaces that celebrate and uplift every student. She sees reading and writing as essential tools for creating connections and helping students discover their authentic voices. She works to give her students opportunities to read and write stories that build communities and affirm experiences.

    "We are incredibly proud to have Ms. Kelly honored as the Region 12 Teacher of the Year. Ms. Kelly is an exceptional teacher that is well respected by the students, staff, and families of Lake Belton High School. We are thankful for her amazing work and are excited to join ESC Region 12 in recognizing her today," said Matthew Smith, Ed.D, Superintendent of Belton ISD.


    Read the Complete Press Release >>

  • Dr. Bobby Ott, Temple ISD

    Dr. Bobby Ott

    Temple ISD


    The Central Texas native has served as superintendent of Temple ISD since 2018 and as an educator for 24 years, demonstrating leadership in military, rural, urban, suburban and fast-growth districts. His previous positions include assistant and deputy superintendent in Temple, Copperas Cove and Killeen ISDs. He also served as an executive leader for both the Texas Education Agency and University of Texas.


    Under Ott's leadership and support, the district has seen gains in closing student achievement gaps. The performance gap for kindergarten to 1st-grade Hispanic and 1st- to 2nd-grade African American students has decreased by 50% due to a continued focus on screening and intervention. The latest data also shows academic growth in reading in several student groups, including those receiving special education services and English-learning students.

    Ott is well known for being intentional about connecting with all groups and being collaborative. He works closely with the school's board of directors, named the 2019-2020 Region 12 and Honor Board of the Year (a top five state finalist). Board members say the energetic leader is candid and timely with communications and committed to working cohesively as a team. In addition to regular board work and relations, Ott often provides an in-depth analysis of district functions, such as school finance, enrollment growth and state accountability. The board credits his leadership style and interactive communications with helping them to work as a high-functioning team making decisions in the best interest of those they serve.


    Read the Press Release >>

  • Anthony Meurer

    Anthony Meurer

    West ISD


    Anthony Meurer has spent most of his 40-year career teaching agriculture science right where he graduated from–West High School. Before West, he taught agricultural science in Hillsboro ISD. 

    Meurer's teaching style combines behaviorism and constructivism while helping students make connections to everyday life. This approach not only engages students but allows them to retain the information. Whether it involves building projects or selecting and feeding animals, the West Trojan immensely enjoys guiding his students through the learning process, often resulting in financial wins, recognition, and experiences they use past graduation.
    This teacher, who works with students in ninth through 12th grades, incorporates safety into every lesson to provide a solid understanding of how things work and how to fix problems and maintain systems, such as electricity. Through his teaching, Meurer also shares data about how the classroom study applies to future jobs and which ones are in high demand. One of his favorite classes to teach is Power Systems in Agriculture Facilities. A class that starts with terminology and safety protocols quickly moves to students designing circuits and working in groups to wire a system. Students test for success, troubleshoot issues and lean on one another to move to the next project phase. He helps them realize that their individual and group contributions achieve positive outcomes, often involving the groups competing (and winning) at their projects' local, district, area, and/or state levels. Meurer sees students grow in their knowledge and skills and take pride in their completed work.
    As an ag teacher, he oversees the construction of many projects. A favorite was the students' design for a barbeque smoker on wheels. The work involved researching, drawing plans, visiting cook-off competitions and preparing a budget. Students worked on different pieces before completing the project as a whole and then building a trailer to hold the pit. Following this work, the students built and added a grill and fish cooker and finished with lighting, paint, safety chains, and everything in between. Testing and their hard work proved successful as the students competed in an FFA banquet, cooking briskets that served 260 people. 
    This smoker ensemble is used for various activities, even cooking for board members during Board Appreciation Month and other activities. 


    Read the Press Release >>

  • Lorenz Villa

    Lorenz Villa

    La Vega ISD


    Lorenz Villa has been teaching for 28 years, with the last seven in La Vega ISD, serving as a 4th-grade dual-language teacher and previously as a reading, English as a Second Language (ESL) and math teacher for the district. Villa has also served as a math, reading and social studies teacher in Waco and McAllen ISDs. Before becoming a teacher, Villa spent nine years working as a missionary in Mexico and is also a United States Air Force veteran.

    Villa's military and work experiences have translated well to a successful teaching career, tying lessons to career experiences and using hands-on activities to demonstrate concepts and guide students to solve problems and explore topics more deeply. Through his experience teaching multiple subjects to English-speaking and English learners, he sees the impact active learning in topics like science has on reading and writing skills. He sees growth in students' skills when they work together in groups to investigate and solve problems, support and respect their peers, and be comfortable with taking risks and making mistakes. He has committed his career to working with students from a low socioeconomic background with a focus on mathematics since it is a key to a career in the growing fields of technology, engineering and science.


    Read the Press Release >>

  • Dr. Brandon Hubbard

    Dr. Brandon Hubbard

    Chilton ISD


    Dr. Brandon Hubbard has served as superintendent of Chilton ISD since 2016 and as an educator for 17 years. His previous positions include principal, assistant principal and teacher in Chilton and Waco ISD. 


    Under Hubbard's leadership, Chilton ISD has a culture of continuous improvement, creativity and innovation. He challenges every staff member to "Go Beyond" demographic and statistical limits in pursuit of excellence. The CISD leader uses student data to develop staff and student support. During the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, psychometric analyses predicted that Chilton ISD would perform at the 'D' level based upon student demographics. Hubbard used this prediction as a rallying cry for the staff and students. In each of those academic years, the school reached a 'B' rating. Hubbard and his team are confident that they will achieve an 'A' rating through systematic instructional practices.


    Hubbard leads with the philosophy that "Challenge + Support = Growth." He believes that challenging students and faculty without relational support is futile and leads to irreparable frustration. Likewise, too much support without meaningful challenge leads to stifled growth and prevents organizational accountability. Therefore, he strives for a balance between a culture of high expectations and support structures for all to be successful.


    Read the Press Release>>

  • Krystal Moos Secondary Teacher of the Year

    Krystle Moos
    Midway ISD

    Krystle Moos has been teaching for 12 years, currently serving as a chemistry teacher at Midway High School. She also serves as a professional learning community leader and as a science fair & science UIL coach. Before joining the Midway Panthers in 2012, she was a teacher for Waco ISD.


    The daughter of a science educator, Moos began her life with a passion for uncovering the science in the world around her. She brings this passion into the classroom through hands-on lab experiments and lessons while building students' confidence in working through complex concepts. Inspired by her growth mindset, Moos emphasizes learning as a life-long process to master the most difficult topics. The high school teacher encourages student growth through productive struggle and uses this principle to guide her chemistry lessons. She creates and uses a positive environment to build relationships with students, help them celebrate small successes, and feel the support necessary to work through assignments. Knowing that students have different learning styles, she provides multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning, emphasizing understanding processes rather than only having correct answers.   

    Through these instruction practices, she sees students gain a deeper understanding of the content, motivation increase to solve problems--driving an increase in assessment scores, student engagement, and excitement. Much to the credit of Moos, enrollment in AP Chemistry has tripled over four years, with ongoing student-to-student mentorship that extends after high school. AP chemistry is now more diverse than ever before while maintaining AP exam scores above the global and Texas average. 


    Read the Press Release>>

  • James Cook Elementary Teacher of the Year

    James Cook
    Killeen ISD
    James Cook has been teaching for six years—all in Killeen ISD, serving as a fifth-grade math teacher at Cedar Valley Elementary for the last five and previously as a Title I teaching aide. Before becoming a teacher, he served 22 years in the United States Army with his last position as Senior Instructor/Platoon SGT/Operations Sergeant. 

    Cook believes in building relationships that foster trust - allowing students to become free-thinking individuals capable of researching facts and making informed decisions while finding their purpose. He vows each day to make a positive impact on someone. 

    After teaching all core subjects, Cook saw a growing need for delivering math content that students can use outside the classroom. In addition to traditional lessons, he developed and uses a system that teaches financial literacy, budgeting, borrowing, and contract litigation. Knowing the lifelong value that financial literacy provides, Cook's program pays students for attendance, good citizenship, peer tutoring and leadership or volunteer tasks. The students pay rent for school supplies, internet access and hardware. His students can use their savings to purchase specialty items like supplies and healthy snacks; however, they have to pay fines for misbehavior, being late, or not returning items by deadlines. The students learn how to manage a balanced budget and consequences like bank fines for mismanaging money or unpaid bills. His students quickly learn how their earning potential goes far beyond a salary. 


    Read the Press Release>>

  • David Edison Superintendent of the Year

    Dr. David Edison

    Aquilla ISD


    Aquilla ISD Superintendent Dr. David Edison has served as superintendent of Aquilla ISD since 2010 and as an educator for 20 years. Previous positions include principal, assistant principal, administrative intern/teacher, and teacher/coach.

    During his time serving as superintendent at Aquilla ISD, Edison led the district in a successful bond election. Edison also completed a 3-phase building project, which included a new gymnasium, building and safety renovations, and an Agricultural Complex.

    Edison is also known for his successful management of district finances. 


    Read the Press Release>>

  • Misty Thomas Secondary Teacher of the Year

    Misty Thomas

    Copperas Cove ISD


    Misty Thomas, Ph.D. has been teaching for 12 years, with the last eight as a chemistry teacher at Copperas Cove High School. Before joining Copperas Cove ISD, Thomas taught U.S. History, Texas History, World History, and Language Arts in Killeen ISD. Previous to her teaching career, Thomas served in the U.S. Army as Captain of the Signal Corps at Fort Hood, Texas; Baghdad, Iraq; Camp Red Cloud, and South Korea as well as Lieutenant of the Chemical Corps at Fort Drum, New York.

    Thomas utilizes her love of learning, leadership abilities, and innovation both inside and outside of the classroom to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. 


    Read the Press Release>>

  • Laurie Sims Elementary Teacher of the Year

    Laurie Sims

    Temple ISD


    Laurie Sims has been teaching for 44 years. She began her teaching career at Temple ISD in 1975 and after teaching at St. Francis Episcopal School from 1983-2002, Sims has been with Temple ISD ever since. Sims has served as a first-grade teacher at Kennedy-Powell Elementary for the past nine years and previously as a kindergarten teacher at Kennedy-Powell Elementary, first-grade and second-grade teacher at Carter Elementary, kindergarten teacher at St. Francis Episcopal School, a first-grade teacher at Scott Elementary, and migrant teacher at Meredith-Dunbar Elementary. 

    Sims values creating lessons that allow her students to take ownership and make connections outside of the classroom walls. Sims embraced the challenge brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, giving her students the opportunity to write thank-you notes to essential workers, teaching them to make connections and express gratitude within their community--a concept that is often difficult for first-grade students to grasp.


    Read the Press Release>>

  • Temple School Board of the Year

    Temple ISD Board of Trustees:

    Dr. Sandhya Sanghi, Linell Davis, Shannon Gowan, Temple ISD Superintendent Bobby Ott , Board President Dan Posey, Board Vice-President Ronnie Gaines, Shannon Myers and Board Secretary Virginia Suarez


    Read the Press Release>>
    • Morgan Castillo Secondary Teacher of the Year

      Morgan Castillo
      Midway ISD

      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.


      Read the Press Release>>

    •  Greg Oubre Elementary Teacher of the Year

      Greg Oubre
      Waco ISD

      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.


      Read the Press Release>>

    • Copperas Cove 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.


      Read the Press Release>>

    • George Kazanas, Superintendent of Year

      Dr. George Kazanas

      Midway ISD

      Dr. George Kazanas has served as superintendent in Midway ISD since 2012. He has overseen a number of innovative instructional programs and impactful student support services, including the district’s 1-to-1 technology program, flexible learning environments and collaborative research partnerships with Baylor University.  Under his guidance, the district has seen growth in the number of distinctions based on STAAR scores, an increase in the number of students taking college entrance exams, and a reduction in expulsions.

      He holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Tarleton State University, and a Master of Science, among others.

      Read the Press Release »
    • Joseph Merlo, Secondary Teacher of the Year

      LTC Joseph Merlo

      Killeen ISD

      LTC Joseph Merlo has taught in Killeen for 14 years and leads the Killeen ISD Army JROTC program. He is described as, “a teacher and a leader who works with students to ensure they grow emotionally as well as intellectually.” Merlo’s teaching philosophy focuses on three pillars: be approachable, be consistent and be respectful. He believes that students respond to teachers they can connect with and they, “want to learn things they can apply in real life whenever possible.”

      His focus is motivating young people to become better citizens through leadership development.

      Read the Press Release »
    • Tanya Linex, Elementary Teacher of the Year

      Tanya Linex

      Corsicana ISD

      Tanya Linex has taught at Navarro Elementary in Corsicana for two years. She teaches second grade and focuses on making lessons challenging, but also individualized to help all students feel successful and empowered. She involves her students in adopting weekly learning goals and moves them through station rotations, based on their needs and weekly content.

      Linex is a role model for this type of learning and believes confident teachers, “pass their learning and confidence to their own students!”

      Read the Press Release »
    • West ISD, School Board of Year

      West ISD Board of Trustees

      Dr. Larry Sparks, President

      Larry Hykel, Vice President

      Leigh Crawshaw, Secretary

      Dr. John Crowder

      Mike Gerik

      Ken Sykora

      Robin Waters

      Read the Press Release »
    • China Spring ISD Superintendent Faulkner

      Dr. Marc Faulkner

      China Spring ISD

      Dr. Marc Faulkner has served as superintendent in China Spring ISD since 2012. His actions and attitude focus on implementing systems, policies and practices that encourage his students, his faculty and his community to strive for excellence.

      Faulkner is an active member of various associations in his community including the Texas Association of School Administrators, the China Spring-Bosqueville Area Lions Club, and Friends of Texas Public Schools.

      He has multiple degrees and certifications, including a Master of Education from Tarleton State University and a Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. He served in many roles at CSISD and the surrounding districts prior to his tenure as superintendent, including assistant superintendent for CSISD and principal of China Spring High School.

    • Teacher of the Year Craig Sullivan

      Craig Sullivan

      Belton ISD

      Craig Sullivan has taught for 31 years and serves as a Construction Science Teacher at Belton High School in Belton ISD. He graduated from Belton High School and returned to teach there after pursuing his degree and teacher’s certification. His teaching focuses on training students to meet the labor skill gap by learning hands-on construction skills for projects in the school and around the community.

      Sullivan believes “that hands-on learning and preparing students for work in the industry is vital to the construction trade, the community and our nation’s workforce."

    • Teacher of the Year Deborah DeGraff

      Deborah DeGraff

      Waco ISD

      Deborah DeGraff has taught for eight years and serves as the Science Lab Teacher at Bell’s Hill Elementary in Waco ISD. She chose to enter the teaching field after her husband’s career in the United States Air Force took her around the world while raising her three children. Her teaching style focuses on innovative, hands-on lessons to make science relevant and meaningful to her students.

      She believes that “teaching all students at every grade level demands that every lab experience be adequately prepared, delivered and executed to create a lasting impression on each student.”

    • Killleen ISD Board

      Killeen Board of Trustees

      John Craft, Superintendent
      Terry Delano, President
      Corbett Lawler, Vice President
      Minerva Trujillo, Secretary
      Shelley Wells
      Susan Jones
      JoAnn Purser
      Marvin Rainwater

Press ENTER key to focus on the active panel
Sign up for the Of the Year mailing list for notifications on the application process. 
School District