Six Receive Teacher of the Year Awards from
Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce
Six East Dallas teachers received Teacher of the Year wards by the Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon on November 19 at Lakehill Preparatory's Alice and Erle Nye Family Environmental Science Center sponsored by Oncor and Comerica.
The winners are Jennifer Edoghotu, L. L. Hotchkiss Elementary School; Michael Jones, J. L. Long Middle School; Jose Delgado, Bryan Adams High School; Jhoana Cayme, Mosley Lakehill Preparatory School; Anna Smith, Dallas Academy; Tim Hagood, Lakehill Preparatory School;
Each winner received a $250 gift card and each school received a $250 check.
The finalists were all deserving of the awards making it extremely difficult for the judges to narrow down to the winners. Each has clearly been an inspiration to countless children and have shaped the lives of future generations that have passed through their classroom.
The finalists were: Miguel Vazquez Dominguez, Mount Auburn STEAM Academy; Warren Johnson, Eduardo Mata Montessori; Elma Rios, Eduardo Mata Montessori; Jonna Stout, Eduardo Mata Montessori; Aaron Aguilar, WH Gaston; Josh Ault, Robert T. Hill Middle School; Emma Buzas, IGNITE Middle School; Kevin Grimes, Dealey Montessori and International Academy; Caitlin Schmidt, J.L. Long Middle School; Shelly Thibodaux, Robert T. Hill Middle School; Becky Brown, Emmett J. Conrad High School; Brandon Harper, Skyline Career Development Center; Russ Keleman, Woodrow Wilson High School; Blythe Mundlin, Woodrow Wilson High School; Amy Aldrete, St. Patrick Catholic School; Ellen Zimmerman, Dallas Academy; Kathy Carroll, St. John's Episcopal School; Bradley Neyland, Lakehill Preparatory School; Andrew Balettie, Bishop Lynch High School; Randy Becker, Bishop Lynch High School; Jennifer Brock, Dallas Academy; Maggie Morales, Bishop Lynch High School.
About Each Winner
LL Hotchkiss Elementary School – Math
Caring, inspiring, phenomenal, passionate and exceptional. This LL Hotchkiss Elem. School teacher builds strong relationships with students and their families from the very beginning. She reminds them “Your best is your goal.”
Many of her student families are immigrants from Africa and other far away countries. It is second nature to her as you see her relate to her students and their parents. She bonds with all students around the campus regardless of their grade level. In her own words, “I work with all kids. I work with kids from Africa, kids from Saudi Arabia, kids who have extreme learning disabilities and kids who live in poverty. I strive to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for my kids.” To highlight the cultural diversity, she encourages her students to research and illustrate their native flag. These flags are posted around her classroom to show that we are one and everyone is welcome.
Through hard work and dedication, this Distinguished DallasISD Teacher demonstrates innovative learning by transforming her classroom into a real-world scenario based upon the lesson. For example, when teaching students about perimeter, area and volume, she transformed her classroom into a construction site and encouraged students to use the measuring tape as their tool for determining the length and width of numerous items.
She builds parental involvement through conducting school academic nights. During these sessions, parents can ask questions about classroom assignments with the goal of empowering the parents to assist the children. She ensured that a Burmese translator was on site for student families who recently migrated from Asia. Outside of school hours, she conducts home visits to build the student- teacher-family relationship. In her experience, home visits have improved student behavior, attendance and led to academic success.
She also led multiple Social and Emotional Learning trainings to educate teachers and staff on the process by which students manage their emotions to create and maintain positive relationships. School-wide, teachers voiced a decrease in classroom disruptions and behavioral issues after this dynamic training. Please congratulate Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Edoghotu.
JL Long Middle School
Our next honoree teaches 6th grade Science at JL Long Middle School but he is more than a biology teacher. He is an innovative mentor and friend. He is the teacher that every parent wants their child to have! Realizing that the Science Fair program had been abandoned, this teacher restored and revamped this timeless program and brought it back to the forefront of the Science Department. Over 50 students participated in the Fair this year. Currently recognized by Dallas ISD as a Distinguished Teacher based on the Teachers Excellence Initiative, he created the very unique and innovative, student-driven club called the Zoo Crew. This club empowers students to become conservation leaders by providing unique experiences with animals. These 15 different animals live in varied ecosystems and require specialized care from the 82 student members. Students gain further understanding through the summer foster care of the lab animals. Over 30 families are involved in the coordination, hosting and general care of the animals as they go from family to family returning safely to the school the next fall.
Noticing a lack of school spirit, our honoree created the Spirit Club for students. He and a parent also created the Captain Buc mascot. In addition, the fight song had been lost, so he did vital research and discovered the original score. It is now a part of the school again.
He encourages student leaders by teaching responsibility and electing classroom officers who assist with classroom tasks. During instruction, he will have them stand on top of their chairs to recite passages, defend scientific laws, or express individual ideals regarding the lessons. This instills confidence in his students!
You will see him involved in Buc Camp, the JL Long Run and the Pep Squad. He teaches in the International Baccalaureate program as JL Long is the only IB accredited middle school in Dallas ISD.
At the end of all emails, you will see the mantra that he lives by. It is a quote by Aristotle…”Educating the mind, without educating the heart, is no education at all.” Please congratulate Michael Jones of JL Long Middle School!
Bryan Adams High School – AP Chemistry
Our next honoree has come full circle in his young life-from growing up in Pleasant Grove as a child of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, to attending the School of Science and Engineering Magnet High School, going to college at Texas A&M, then returning home to teach Advanced Placement Chemistry at Bryan Adams HS. For most of his teaching career, he has been on a mission to change the course for students whose families have not encouraged them to go to college. He was awarded the Texas Instruments Innovations in STEM Teaching Award and in the summer has proudly worked as a lead counselor for the Texas HS Aerospace scholars program at the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Junior League awarded him a grant to purchase equipment for “The Solution to our Solutions Problem” where students utilize Spectrometers, which are instruments that split light into an array of separate colors.
A parent said that he is the “complete package” when it comes to looking for a teacher to emulate. His commitment, dedication to learning and teaching, and his involvement in the community is unique, and Bryan Adams is fortunate to have him. Outside of his rigorous school demands, he is involved with Primos, a mentoring program in East Dallas, which pairs students from Pleasant Grove to professionals with roots in Pleasant Grove or similar neighborhoods. They participate in activities that help students learn about finances, plan for college, search for internships and more. He also participates in Destination: Bryan Adams, an independent group of community representatives dedicated to promoting the activities of Bryan Adams and the schools that feed into it.
This Master AP Teacher teaches because he loves learning. A favorite learning opportunity was training in Digital Fluency, an amazing insight into the ways technology is used to augment, modify and redefine teaching methods. All students, willing to try and work hard, are accepted into his AP Chemistry program regardless of prior success or failure in science classes. Be it in class or out, his goal for the school is to make it feel like a place where all students belong. Students should have a place they can feel connected and welcomed. Please congratulate Jose Delgado as our Teacher of the Year!
Lakehill Preparatory School – Elementary
Confident, Dedicated, Tenacious, Inspirational. These words have been used to describe the physical education teacher for students in kindergarten through 4th grade at Lakehill Preparatory School. She also teaches middle school fitness classes and serves as a middle school and varsity coach. In addition to teaching a full load and coaching six athletic teams, she sponsors several organizations and serves as Lakehill’s Athletic Coordinator. A colleague for more than 11 years says “she has unbelievable self-discipline to juggle multiple duties while setting high expectations for herself. She is currently training for a marathon and her students are learning lessons of perseverance, self-discipline and time management from her example. She is never too busy for those who have come to rely on her special brand of encouragement. Those who work with her or have been taught or coached by her find her confidence, dedication and tenacity inspiring.”
Every summer she helps lead Lakehill’s Community Connections Camp, introducing hundreds of children to volunteer service. This honoree sponsors the Pink Out Volleyball game in order to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, the Student Council, guiding a school-wide water drive for the homeless in Dallas and leading students in the Sundae Sale to benefit middle school students in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Her spring project was a Fill the Bus with Water drive benefiting the Soup Mobile. She also sponsors the Rubik’s Cube Club and the Yo-Yo club.
In lower school physical education, she uses the power of finding joy in play and teaches her young students about a healthy and active lifestyle while having fun. As a firm believer in making cross-curricular connections, she reinforces what her students are learning in the classroom by counting in Spanish during warm-up stretches as well as counting by twos, fives and tens.
This outstanding teacher is masterful at addressing the differing skill levels of a diverse group of learners yet somehow, challenging each of them to work hard to achieve their personal best.
Please congratulate Teacher of the year, Jhoana Cayme-Mosley!
Anna Smith Dallas Academy – Middle School
From our next honorees own words, “If you don’t think you are awesome, no one else will. Being dyslexic and ADHD, I understand that kids do not all learn in the same manner. Having 2 kids with dyslexia and ADHD and auditory processing drove that point home even further.” This outstanding teacher in middle school at Dallas Academy is a creative force in the classroom, in the school and in the community. She believes in the power to change the face of things and she strives to find solutions, not make excuses. Her classroom is not quiet- as it is a collaborative space. Students are engaged in conversation or notably involved in something important. Students are not always at their desks, but sitting on the floor, in bean bags, actively learning and making connections with each other, to life and to the world. Her classroom is uniquely different, just as the learners in the room.
An example of this creative learning is the Positive Carbon Model Home at Dallas Academy. She is the co-sponsor of this event which guides 100 middle and high school students in installing smart glass, solar panels, wind turbines, magnification tubes that concentrate sunlight inside, geothermal water heating, a barrel and pump rainwater collection system, bio-digester grey water system, a green roof and other systems to ensure the model uses less energy than it generates. In May of 2019, these students won the Best Overall project award at the World’s Largest Earth X at Fair Park Dallas.
She sponsors the yearbook club, photography club, and Techy Talents/Gaming Friday. This dynamic teacher is involved in the Dallas Academy Auction, Pumpkin Chunkin’, National Engineers Future City, Dawg Run, Dawg Patch, homecoming chair, the 50th Anniversary of Dallas Academy Chair and many other events.
She feels that teaching is all about introducing students to a world of concepts that are new. Integrating technology into her classroom is an effective way to connect with students of all learning styles. She teaches them how to think critically, solve problems, take initiative, work together, adapt to changes, communicate, find and analyze information and be accountable for their own learning .Her biggest compliment is having a student send a thank you card stating, “Thank you for believing I can find the answer myself.” Congratulate Anna Smith from Dallas Academy.
Lakehill Preparatory School – High School
Our next honoree is the Chairman of the Upper School English Department at Lakehill Preparatory School and has been on the staff for over 16 years. He teaches sophomores, seniors and Advanced Placement English. His experience as a language teacher revealed that while literacy can be a challenge for all students, some are naturally adept at reading and writing while others excel at the oral expression of ideas. Consequently, he created a group called “Quaker Discussions” in which students discuss their insights on the assigned texts in a free-flowing discussion amongst themselves. He does not participate, rather he observes and notes the quantity and quality of the thoughts the students express. Participating in the Quaker Discussions helps those less inclined in writing to get words on a page when they are called to do so.
As a member of the Lakehill community, he proposed the forming of an Honor Council, comprised of 3 faculty members, the presidents of the Student council, the Senior Class and the National Honor Society. One of the reasons it has endured is that the teachers on the committee get to see issues from the students’ perspective, while the students come away with a sense that “we’re all in this together.” His work with the National Jr. Honor Society and projects benefiting Hope Supply Co., the Vogel Alcove, For the Love of the Lake and the North Texas Food Bank has given him opportunities to personalize relationships with the students.
This from a parent, “He prefers to seek recognition for the teachers in his department and to expand and promote the skills and accomplishments for his students and graduates. Being in the spotlight is just not his style.” She also has watched her son develop a new love of literature. After reading, Invisible Cities during her son’s sophomore literature class, this teacher thoughtfully gave the student a copy of the book as a gift. That dog-eared copy still resides on his bedside table 3 years later, having been read and reread countless times. We understand that you don’t like to be in the spotlight, but today is your turn!
Please congratulate Tim Hagood as Teacher of the Year.