Teacher and Teacher Assistant of the Year
The best of the best!
Teacher of the Year 2018-2019
Congratulations Bob from all of us at Jo Kelly School!
Bob Chochola has been a teacher on the Jo Kelly staff since August of 2015.
"Teaching special needs students has been a call to service for me and I approach it every day with the gratitude and humility it deserves. The opportunity to serve students and their families at Jo Kelly School is an honor and a privilege. I look forward to these new challenges always." -Bob Chochola
"It is an honor to represent Jo Kelly School as the Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year. Our staff is second-to-none in my opinion and my hope is to be a reflection of our entire team throughout this distinction."
Bob has had the privilege of serving not only as a special education teacher, but also as department chair and PLC team leader for two outstanding Fort Worth ISD schools, since his initial hire date in September of 2007.
He began his teaching career with Fort Worth ISD as a substitute teacher, while he continued to work as a freelance writer and TV producer. His first year as a full time teacher for students with special needs was at Forest Oak Middle School in 2010. He then moved-on to Daggett Middle School in 2011. Go Bulldogs!
Mr. Chochola's Bachelor’s Degree is in Music Composition and Performance and is from Columbia College in 1992 and He earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Roosevelt University in 1994. Both schools are located in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Teaching is a relatively recent career move for him. While he was attending college, he became a television writer and producer for CBS News in Chicago and continued to work for more than twenty years for news and entertainment organizations like CBS News, FOX News/Sports, ABC News, music programming, and independent programming. He received the prestigious Aegis Award in 1998 for journalism excellence. In 1999 he received an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, for a documentary that he produced for Saturday morning children programming on the discovery of the Titanic.
Bob was born and raised in the Chicago area. CBS in Dallas/Fort Worth hired him in 1996 and he has lived in North Texas ever since.
He believes his most significant contribution and accomplishment in education happens every day in his classroom. "I wake-up and go work in order to serve my students, their families, and our community.
Teaching special needs students has been a call to service for me and I approach it every day with gratitude and humility. I have a wonderful opportunity to have an impact on the lives I serve and on a much broader scale the future of our country."
"Sometimes random people ask me how I relate to kids so well. It’s a gift. I don’t take that gift lightly. In fact, I look at it as a charge or responsibility. I’m a care giver. I’m a voice for students and their families. I’m a resource for those families. I am a connection and sometimes a buffer between the community and government. I am an agent of communication, action, and change."
When Bob first decided to go to graduate school, he considered a Master’s in Education. As the John Lennon lyric goes, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” and so TV became his passion for the next two decades. It wasn’t until he found himself in the middle of a job search two decades later that he decided to pick-up where he left-off in the field of Education.
"The Special Education classroom found me! Serendipitous is a very good word to describe how I got here, but I also had much help from many good people along the way."
Bob's civic involvement revolves mostly around church activities. He recently returned home from a mission trip to Union de Reyes, Cuba. This was his second trip to Cuba since 2015. "I find it most interesting the connection between 'the mission' on those church sponsored trips and our collective mission at Fort Worth ISD. Our mission was relationship. We embarked upon a mission of building a personal connection to the people of Cuba through programs like prayer partners, where we write letters and emails to maintain a presence with our specific prayer partner. I have also made a great connection via social media to a number of my new Cuban friends."
Bob has volunteered at Community Crossroads on Hemphill Street in Fort Worth every Wednesday for the past six years, playing bass guitar in the band and making a connection to so many economically disadvantaged people in the city of Fort Worth. He has been a paid musician for over forty years, released two albums and toured with an independent record label out of Oklahoma City. "Making music each Wednesday evening with the all-volunteer band at Community Crossroads lets me give back in a most enjoyable way. We have dinner and worship together and we lead bible study with kids and adults."
Mr. Chochola is a trained and certified Stephen Minister. The Stephen Ministry program provides grief counseling and committed laypersons who train to walk with people in crisis. "This ministry has introduced me to a very special group of people to serve - and people with whom to serve."
"I have also had the pleasure of providing meals and companionship to homeless people through our Room in the Inn program and have assembled holiday meals for families in need through the Tarrant County Food Bank."
Teacher Assistant of the Year 2018-2019
Congratulations Bridgette from all of us!
Bridgette Miles started out as a FWISD bus driver for three years where she was introduced and fell in love with special needs students. She had several routes that were special needs and Jo Kelly was her preferred school.
Lucky for us she joined the Jo Kelly Staff as a Special Education Teacher Assistant in 2016!
Bridgette would like to stay at Jo Kelly School until retirement and move up the ladder as far as her knowledge, skills, and abilities will take her. With the help of her current teacher Mrs. Sherri Merchant, her experience at Jo Kelly School has been a fun and memorable one.
She is a recent graduate who received an Associate Degree in Business Administration. Bridgette is currently studying to get her Bachelor’s in Psychology and will work towards becoming a Special Education Teacher. She would like to continue to work with special need students and be part of this particular environment on a different level She is looking forward to what lies ahead in her journey of working in Special Education!
“I was recently awarded Teacher Assistant of the Year due to my work ethics and other unique factors such as my personality! “
"It takes a special group of people to work with a special group of children. I'm glad to be a part of this group. To all the Caretakers, thank you for all that you do in your positions. This goes for Special Education, Regular Education as well as the Caretakers outside the School District." -Bridgette Miles