The application for the 2022 Texas Teacher of the Year is now closed.
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The application for the 2021 Texas Superintendent of the Year is closed.
The application for the 2021 Texas School Board of the Year is now closed.
ESC Region 12 Award Winners
ESC Region 12 is committed to recognizing winners in our region.
Dr. David Edison
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>>
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
Dr. George Kazanas
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.
LTC Joseph Merlo
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.
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!”
West ISD Board of Trustees
Dr. Larry Sparks, President
Larry Hykel, Vice President
Leigh Crawshaw, Secretary
Dr. John Crowder
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.
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."
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.”
Killeen Board of Trustees
John Craft, Superintendent
Terry Delano, President
Corbett Lawler, Vice President
Minerva Trujillo, Secretary
2101 West Loop 340
Waco, TX 76712
Phone: (254) 297-1212
Main Fax: (254) 666-0823
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