Fort Worth ISD selected its 2019 Elementary and Secondary District Teachers of the Year at a highly-anticipated awards dinner that recognized the best of the best in the District.
Sharon Gartrell, a kindergarten teacher at Charles E. Nash Elementary School and Lisa Yanagida-Blow, who is the AVID coordinator at Eastern Hills High School, were announced as the 2019 elementary and secondary honorees, respectively. The annual awards dinner was held Thursday, May 2, at the Fort Worth Zoo. The event also celebrated eight other Campus Teacher of the Year winners who were finalists for the District award.
Ms. Gartrell teaches kindergarten at Charles E. Nash Elementary. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas and has taught 12 years. When Sharon was young, two teachers changed her life. They increased her self-confidence and helped her see she was meant to teach. As a kindergarten teacher, Sharon works to ensure that her students’ first experiences in school are positive.
“I develop relationships with my students and their families,” Ms. Gartrell said. “I firmly believe that you cannot be an effective teacher unless the relationships are built first. Students are more likely to work harder and behave better for someone they trust and that they feel understands them. These relationships last long after students leave my class.”
Sharon believes self-care is part of being an excellent teacher. She swims laps at the gym before school starts every morning as part of teacher preparedness.
Ms. Yanagida-Blow is the AVID coordinator at Eastern Hills High School. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii and master’s degree in special education from Lamar University. She has taught for 13 years, all of them at Eastern Hills. Her parents were educators, and Lisa said teaching is in her blood. Lisa loves helping students take on leadership roles and fine tune their critical thinking skills. She makes it a point to connect with each student and enjoys having former students visit her class to give advice to current students.
“Teachers hold many keys and it is our job to unlock the multiple doors of learning for all students. I unlock the doors for my students by connecting the subject I teach to the ‘real world,’ showing the purpose behind the material and/or lesson, bringing creative and hands-on lessons to my classroom, and finally creating personal relationships with each student. I believe it is a teacher’s job to make each student feel important and special. Teachers must also find ways to connect the subject material to the lives of their students.”
Both Ms. Gartrell and Ms. Yanagida-Blow received a $5,000 honorarium from Central Market H-E-B, the awards dinner sponsor.
Since 1985, community businesses and organizations have partnered with Fort Worth ISD to recognize outstanding classroom teachers in our District. Annually, one teacher at each campus is nominated and elected by fellow teachers for the honor of Campus Teacher of the Year. Community judges evaluate applications from the Campus Teachers to select District winners in each category.
2019 Secondary District Teacher of Year Finalists:
- Andrea Rogers, art, Young Women’s Leadership Academy
- Kenyail Carr, math, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA
- Evette Mumford, science, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
- Dalynn Cross, English, Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School
2019 Elementary District Teacher of the Year Finalists:
- Kimberly Bennett, fifth grade math, Springdale Elementary
- Sydney Jones, second grade, Worth Heights Elementary
- Sarah Milliken, fifth grade science, Seminary Hills Park Elementary
- Susan Afflerbach, kindergarten inclusion, Western Hills Primary
Each of the eight finalists received a $1,500 honorarium from Central Market.
The dinner was attended by Superintendent Kent P. Scribner, Fort Worth ISD Board of Education trustees and Stephen Butt, president of the H-E-B/Central Market Division. Dr. Brian Williams, noted trauma surgeon and nationally recognized speaker, delivered the keynote address. The North Side High School Mariachi- Espuelas de Plata, under the direction of Ramon Nino III, was the featured entertainment at the dinner.
There are 10 Central Market stores in Texas and about 400 H-E-B stores throughout Texas and Mexico. H-E-B contributes more than $10 million annually to Texas education.