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Fort Worth ISD Announces 2023 District Teacher of the Year Winners

Fort Worth ISD selected its 2023 Elementary and Secondary District Teachers of the Year at a highly-anticipated awards dinner that recognized the best of the best in the District.  This year’s event featuredWFAA News 8 Daybreak anchor and FWISD graduate Marc Istook as the emcee. 


Amanda Dawn Inay, teacher at Rufino Mendoza Elementary School, and Aimee Hatch, a science teacher at Daggett Montessori, were announced as the 2023 elementary and secondary honorees, respectively. The annual awards dinner was held Thursday, May 4, at the Fort Worth Zoo. The event also celebrated eight other Campus Teacher of the Year winners who were finalists for the District award. 

The featured speakers for the evening were WFAA’s Marc Istook and Southwest High School Advanced Media Production student, Bailey Boyce.  The two discussed their perspectives on what makes a teacher great and ways that teachers make a difference. 

Ms. Inay received her bachelor’s degree from Texarkana College and has sixteen years of experience. Amanda had a special kindergarten teacher who encouraged her.  She decided later that she wanted to be Ms. Smith to as many children as she possibly could.  “There is no greater reward than to see EACH student with ‘that light’ in their eyes-you know that light that says, ‘I’m loved, I’m safe, I’m worth it, I can do this, I get it, and I can reach any achievement I set my heart upon.’”

Take an inside look into Ms. Inay’s classroom in this video.  


Ms. Aimee Hatch is a science teacher at Daggett Montessori and has fifteen years of experience.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and her master’s from The University of Texas at Arlington.  “In the science classroom, there is no more significant moment for a teacher than the audible ‘WOW’ heard throughout the class as students engage in a lesson.  At that moment, their curiosity is sparked and their minds are ripe for learning.”  Aimee believes that a teacher is a support and guide as students engage with information to build their own understanding.

Hear more from Ms. Hatch and her students in this video.

Both Ms. Inay and Ms. Hatch received a $750 honorarium from EECU, in addition to gifts from community partners.

Each of the eight finalists received a lovely gift basket from Central Market.

2023 Elementary District Teacher of Year Finalists:

  • Carlee Byrd, special education, Overton Park Elementary
  • Nelson Cedillo, fifth grade, George C. Clarke Elementary
  • Alexandra Flores, fourth grade, M.H. Moore Elementary
  • Natalie Reyna, librarian, Westcliff Elementary

2023 Secondary District Teacher of the Year Finalists: 

  • Erin Blythe, art appreciation and learning frameworks, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Timothy Brendler, music theory and piano, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA
  • Mikki McCoy, AVID, Benbrook Middle-High School
  • Erick Perez, biology, Dunbar High School

The dinner was attended by Deputy Superintendent Karen MolinarBoard of Education trustees, and community partners. Paschal High School’s Mariachi Panteras, under the direction of Alphonso Raymondwas the featured entertainment at the dinner. Students from the acclaimed Advanced Media Production Program at Southwest High School live-streamed the event from their state-of-the-art production vehicle.  

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. Selection committees evaluate applications from the Campus Teachers to select District winners in each category.  Both winners will be eligible to submit application for the Region 11 Teacher of the Year and potentially move onto the state competition.