Voting Now Closed!


 Field Supervisors and Principals across the nation nominated their stand-out teachers for a chance to become our 2022 Teacher of the Year. Our five finalists were selected in a thorough review process and the public voted for their favorite candidate. Now that the votes are in, it’s time to see who will be named our 2022 Teacher of the Year! Stay tuned to find out who the winner will be…

CHELSEA LYONS

Elementary Math, Science, and Social Studies
Mesquite ISD

Q: What motivated you to select the teaching profession?
A: I chose to teach because I have a thirst for learning and a passion for sharing knowledge. I have always wanted to help others from a young age and what better way to serve my community than guiding our young ones? I love kids! They bring out my inner child and I honestly find myself learning so much from them as well. I am grateful for this profession and very happy to be a part of it.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: My students are my favorite part! We build relationships to become a family and a team!

 

Q: What is the most impactful moment you have experienced as an educator?
A: The most impactful moment this past year was creating a family with my students and growing together. One student, in particular, had a difficult time with emotional regulation, so I gave him tools and coping techniques to help him settle back down and talk it out. We practiced and practiced and by the end of the year, he was able to name his feelings and be proactive in regulating his emotions.

 

Q: What is one important lesson you hope your students take with them when they leave your classroom?
A: The important lesson I want my students to take away is that they are deserving of love NO MATTER WHAT. I want them to know that they can always find a safe space and a listening ear in my classroom.

 

Q: Why do you deserve to win the 2022 Teacher of the Year award?
A: I think I am deserving of the 2022 Teacher of the Year Award because I love teaching children. I have never worked harder; I put my heart and soul into this profession. I am constantly thinking about my students and how I can better support them. I will continue to commit myself to serving my community and my students. They need us now more than ever and I will always be there for them.

GLORIA BARREIRO

12th Grade College Readiness & Study Skills
Cleveland ISD

Q: What motivated you to select the teaching profession?
A: In 2019, I was contracted through Texas A&M University to work as the college recruitment adviser at Cleveland High School. This is a two-year, near-peer program called Advise Texas. Each adviser is assigned to work at a high school campus and help lead low-income and first-generation students to college. With each student I assisted, a spark of enthusiasm grew in me as I listened to their interests and made sure they felt prepared with their post-secondary plan. In February of 2021, I lost my dad to Covid-19. Even though I did not major in Education he was so proud I entered the teaching field. Every afternoon I would share stories of success with him about students who I helped that were awarded scholarships and accepted into a college. I decided to follow in the footsteps of his late sister who was a teacher and who I was named after. My dad was my best friend and ultimately, he is the one who motivated me to pursue my career in teaching.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: My favorite part of being a teacher is working with my College and Career team and being able to see my students every day. Making a difference in the students’ lives is what keeps me going, through even the hardest times. Working closely with my mentor helps bring new opportunities and combat challenges. No day looks the same, which is why I love being a teacher.

 

Q: What is the most impactful moment you have experienced as an educator?
A: The most impactful moment I have experienced as a teacher is being able to take my classes on college tours, helping them with their post-secondary plans, and watching them earn grants and scholarships. I love taking my students on college tours because for some of them it is their first time ever stepping on a college campus. Some have never had the experience of leaving their hometown. Throughout my class we discuss different post-secondary options, helping my students make their goals a reality is an amazing feeling. However, the best feeling by far is when my students learn they are awarded a grant or scholarship. One of the students I helped was awarded the KPRC Texas Mattress Makers Senior Scholarship which was aired on Channel 2 news. I can remember our whole family tuning in to watch as the student held the poster with the award amount and the biggest smile as he was not expecting the award.

 

Q: What is one important lesson you hope your students take with them when they leave your classroom?
A: One lesson I hope my students take with them when they leave my classroom is that even though my class is centered around being prepared for life after high school, they do not have to have everything figured out. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication Media Studies and it has helped me tremendously. I can communicate better with students, parents, coworkers, and incorporate technology in the classroom. Even though I never planned to become a teacher, I am thankful for the Texas Teachers program. One of my favorite quotes is by John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” I like to use myself as an example when discussing this with my students. I never imagined I would be working in education until I began my career as an adviser. However, because you can only work in Advise Texas for two years, I knew I wanted to teach the College Readiness class at the high school.

 

Q: Why do you deserve to win the 2022 Teacher of the Year award?
A: I believe I should be the 2022 Teachers of Tomorrow Teacher of the Year award recipient because I genuinely care for my students, and I am passionate about my job. The students in my class inspire me every day because they never let barriers or struggles define who they are. Many come in my classroom with no plans after they graduate. I motivate and encourage them to start the application process and seek information in their areas of interest, whether that be at a college, trade school, military branch, or even the workforce. I have witnessed students struggling to stay awake in my classroom only to learn they had to work a late shift, to help offset financial burdens at home. When it comes to my students, I am empathic, patient, and engaged. They have taught me that even when the going gets tough, instead of letting your circumstances stop you from reaching your goals you should stay motivated and keep moving forward. I truly believe I have found my passion and even through the challenges I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given because of my career in teaching.

LAURA CISNEROS

6th – 8th Grade Theatre Arts
Harlandale ISD

Q: What motivated you to select the teaching profession?
A: I believe in the power of the ripple effect in this world. When you are touched and transformed, you touch and transform those around you and then they do the same, and before we know it, we are surrounded by beautiful individuals that give what was given to them. When I was a student in school, I didn’t feel seen or heard for years. It wasn’t until one teacher made me feel different. You always remember how someone makes you feel. She made me feel like I was something more than just “me.” She helped make me excited to go to school and learn. I finally felt a motivation to do more and be more because of ONE person. I chose this profession because it is my mission to do the same to the next generation of world changers. I believe every student has a beautiful purpose and needs a “reason.” They need a reason to show up to school, a reason to try, a reason to speak, a reason to believe. I may not be every student’s “reason,” but if I can just reach one of them, I’ve fulfilled my mission. It’s more than just imparting knowledge, it’s inspiring change in them. In a world of many uncertainties, I made it my mission to speak truth to the students that enter my room every single day. These truths are: They are loved. They are safe. They are important. They are powerful. They can do ANYTHING. It is the gift of getting to spend so many hours and days with each of these students that made me choose this profession. The gift of opportunity. The gift of helping a student release self-doubt and negative labels that don’t define them. The gift of watching them slowly believe these truths and excel not only in my class, but all their classes. The gift of witnessing miracles every day. Big ones and little ones. It’s all in the hidden details and I absolutely love it.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: My favorite part about being a teacher is interacting with my students. Getting to know them and teaching them according to their individual needs is a thrill of joy for me. It’s through the interactions that they are able to slowly discover new things about themselves and the skills/lessons we are learning about. It’s through the interactions in which a voice is found, that community is built, confidence sparks, knowledge grows, and change is made.

 

Q: What is the most impactful moment you have experienced as an educator?
A: There have been many impactful moments, but there’s one that comes to mind that makes my heart smile so big. This past school year was my very first time directing a UIL One Act Play. I took on the challenge and chose a piece that I felt resonated with all of my students from all walks of life. I casted students that I knew had big hidden talents, but still lacked confidence and motivation. It was a risk, but a risk always worth taking if it meant students had the opportunity to learn and bloom. The experience we had as a cast during this show was so special. It was a safe space where they had freedom to have a voice and be creative. It was a space and time to connect and freely express. I saw these kids pour out their hearts in ways I had never seen and maybe even they hadn’t seen. Getting to see them strip down shame, self-doubt, and isolation and trade it for confidence, perseverance, and passion was the most beautiful experience. It didn’t happen overnight, but the progress slowly became more and more evident and it gave me goosebumps. When we prepared for competition, I made sure these kids knew it was not about the trophy. It was never about the trophy. It was about what each of them had found in themselves and with each other through this journey. It was about healing, rebirth, and a bright light at the end of the tunnel. However, when we were announced as the 1st place winning school in the district at the end of the event, I couldn’t help but tear up as I saw their faces glow and tears roll down their cheeks. They cheered. They gasped. They cried. They leaped. And each of them gave me a look as they walked up that stage. It was a look of “I am capable of more than I thought and imagined.” A look of “I can do big scary things.” A look of “new hope.” A look of “passion.” A look of “hard work really does pay off.” A look of “I did it.” It was truly beautiful from a teacher/director’s perspective. That moment impacted me. It reminded me of why I do what I do. Not for the awards, but for the kids and what they have learned and discovered in themselves through the process. The everyday Theatre warm ups and activities, the long lessons in class, the long hours of rehearsals after school, the early mornings, the good days, the messy days, the horrid days. Each one counts. And they make it worth it. Every. Single. Day. They always will.

 

Q: What is one important lesson you hope your students take with them when they leave your classroom?
A: One lesson I hope students take with them when they leave my classroom is empathy. In the world of acting, we get to creatively explore the world of other characters. These students get to step in the shoes of many characters and truly feel what it’s like to be someone else. Some characters are very similar to their real selves, others are completely different. It’s through these acting scenes and skills that they learn the true meaning of empathy. In the world of theatre and film, we are caught laughing or shedding a tear as we watch a story on a screen or stage, that is called empathy. We feel what they feel. In a world full of many individuals with different backgrounds, cultures, and endless life stories, emotions, and circumstances, I believe the gift of empathy in my students is one of the greatest gifts of all. Empathizing and showing compassion is what this world needs more of. The simple message of “you are not alone…” It’s the beautiful gift of unity.

 

Q: Why do you deserve to win the 2022 Teacher of the Year award?
A: It would be an honor to be the 2022 Teachers of Tomorrow Teacher of the Year award recipient. If I won this award, I would hope that it inspires the teachers around me to continue investing in the students that walk in their door every day and that it serves as a reminder that what we do for these individuals matter so much more than we may realize. Whether you teach Math, Reading, Social Studies, Art, Dance, etc. you have the power to change a student’s life. It’s not always easy being in the education profession, but my hope is that by leaning on one another and sharing celebratory moments that we experience in the classroom, we can continue to find the strength, passion, and excitement to show up to a job that we know is making a difference. I hope that I can exemplify that and encourage those around me with this award. With or without an award, I strive to be the very best I can be in and out of the classroom. I continually seek and attend opportunities for professional development in my community and in other cities and states, in which I can learn and grow as a theatre director and educator for these students while contributing to the positive change in the educational system. I also seek opportunities in our community for students of all walks of life. I believe that there is opportunity for anyone and everyone and the more we can do every day as educators to change the narrative for these students, the more it will change the world in which we live.

SHANEKIA HALL

Kindergarten General Education
Spring ISD

Q: What motivated you to select the teaching profession?
A: I decided to become a teacher because of my personal experience growing up. I lost both parents at a very young age; during this time, my 4th-6th grade teachers played a very influential and impactful role in my life. They went over and beyond, ensuring that my challenges did not overcome my potential to be a success in life. Their impact has left a significant mark on my heart in which I wanted to pay that forward to children who may need one person who will support them through their educational journey. I was that child who needed support when I lost both my parents and since then, it has always been my desire and passion to be in a field that would allow me to make a difference in the lives of children

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: Building relationships with parents and students from the very first day of school has been one of my favorite part of being a teacher. I believe it takes a strong village to navigate this teaching world; hence, a clear line of communication between parents and teachers sets the tone for student engagement, academic improvement, and social/emotional and behavioral development. For example, there was a student who approached me at the end of the school day to suddenly share that “she was happy that I am her teacher because I am her mother at school, and she knows that I will always be there for her.” She also shared the same sentiments to her grandmother who reached out to me to let me know.

 

Q: What is the most impactful moment you have experienced as an educator?
A: The most impactful moment I have experienced as a teacher has been witnessing the growth of my students. When my students enter the classroom on the first day, I get the opportunity to build relationships with them, watch their holistic growth, development, and improvement as time progress, and celebrate their milestones; it gives me a sense of joy.

 

Q: What is one important lesson you hope your students take with them when they leave your classroom?
A: One lesson that I hope my students take with them when they transition from my classroom into the next and the world is that they are agents of change. They have the power to advocate for themselves and others and their bold voice, ideas, and skills are necessary in this world.

 

Q: Why do you deserve to win the 2022 Teacher of the Year award?
A: The thought of simply being a nominee for the award has already solidified that my love and dedication for the profession has not gone unnoticed. To win the award would be an awesome fate in my journey as a teacher. This profession for me is a calling driven by deep passion and the desire to be of a positive influence on all the students and families that I meet.

LAURA COTTLE

3rd Grade English Language Arts & Reading
Forney ISD

Q: What motivated you to select the teaching profession?
A: As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to be a teacher to help make a difference in this world. I have always been called to help people. I firmly believe that a teacher that cares for their students can make a lasting impression. I love focusing on social emotional learning in partnership with the academic learning. Being able to have a small role in someone’s life is a really humbling part of being a teacher.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: My favorite part of being a teacher is being around the students every day and watching them grow. I am able to not only teach them the academic skills they need but also teach them empathy, perseverance, how to be a good friend, and how to show kindness. The dressing up in costumes isn’t so bad either. I am the “Ms. Frizzle” of my school.

 

Q: What is the most impactful moment you have experienced as an educator?
A: The most impactful moment I experienced as a teacher was watching student’s growth mindset shift as the year went on. 3rd grade is a huge year for these kids with it being their first year to state test. They come in nervous and thinking everything is difficult. Showing students, I believe in them and that they should believe in themselves helps shift that mindset. That’s when you see a change in the way they speak about school and how they act.

 

Q: What is one important lesson you hope your students take with them when they leave your classroom?
A: The one lesson I hope students take with them is that as long as you give your 100% effort to something then that is all that matters. Whether that is school, sports, being a friend, or existing in this world. There is always someone that believes in them. Even 40 years down the line when they forget my name, I still hope they knew that I always believed in them!

 

Q: Why do you deserve to win the 2022 Teacher of the Year award?
A: I believe the classroom should be a safe and welcoming place where children can learn, have fun, and be themselves. l create an inclusive environment and make children feel safe in a risk-free learning environment. I believe having a growth mindset is a huge focus for my classroom. Every classroom is like a family or a community. My role is to help students learn and develop their learning styles. I incorporate collaborative learning, hands-on activities, and independent work all while keeping learning fun and engaging. My goal is for children to grow mentally, intellectually, emotionally, and socially so they can use the skills they learned to be successful in the future. I believe cooperation between parents, staff, students, and myself will make for a great classroom and learning environment. We all grow as the year goes on and I think that’s the beauty of being a teacher. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Voting Now Closed

This form is currently closed for submissions.

Shout Out to All the Amazing
Teachers Who Were Nominated

Adrian Findlay | Alisa Morris | Alisha Kuhl | Amanda Jordan | Amanda Martinez | Amber Wilson Pettway | Amber Aguayo | Amy Blackwell |Amy Shaffer | Andie Richardson | Angela Shervington | Annalee MIller | Antoinese Calhoun | April Batty | April Red | Ashleigh Jackson | Ashley Simpson | Aubrey McClure | Autumn Kraybill | Barbara Burns | Benita Smith | Blankca Garza | Brandon Luna | Brenda Rebolloso | Briana Borne | Briana Reed | Brianna Boxie | Brittney Scott | Caitlin Rivera | Candice Davis | Cara Newman | Carina Freeman | Carlos Medina | Carolina Ramos | Carrie Rippe | Cequita Ransom | Chase LaComb | Chelsea Lyins | Cheryl Randle | Christa Griffin | Christina Murphy | Christy Zamora | Christy Anderson | Clayton Cox | Clora Smith | Corrie Reigle | Courtney Bolt | Courtnie Simpson |Cristina Hernandez | Crystal Berumen | Daniel Hobbs | Dannielle Tuttle | Debbie Beavers | Debbie Smithson | Derek Kieninger | Diana Mendoza | Diane Jenkins | Dorota Mendez | Elaine Tillery | Elizabeth Arcinega | Enix Ramos| Erica Palm | ERIKA GARZA | Erin Allison | Eyshon Salahuddin | Fabiola Villa | Gayle Miller | Gisela Gonzalez | Giselle Marin | Gloria Champion | Gloria Barreiro | Gregory Gilmore | Hal Ley | Hannah Dooley | Hayden Smith | Hermina Ivan | Hunter Dicianna | Jackie Guerra | Jake Bunn | James Pitts | Jannie Vess | Jarvis Edison | Jay Myers | Jeffery Gonzales | Jennifer Beckman | Jennifer Hutchinson | Jennifer Beckman | Jennifer Teves Jennifer Kaufman | Jennifer Penn | Jennifer Luce | Jesse Parr | Jessica Darwin | Joan Kero | Jonathan Lizarondo | Joshua St. John | Kaitlyn Mancha | Kalee Martin | Katalina Scott | Kellie Beall | Kelly Smith | Kevin Moore | Kevin Fosburgh | Kiara Thorpe | Kimberly Peveto | Kristen Murry | Kristin Jungers | Kristina Morales | Kristy Archibald | Laura Cottle | Laura Zepeda | Laura Cisneros | Laura Theriot | Lauren Gadberry | Leah Manning | Leslie McKahan | Lorel Hartley | Lori Looper | Luann Hoerner | Lynn Tucker | Mackenzie Bailey | Madison Lanetz | Maggie Hughes | Marisa Reyes-Prado | Markia Tate | Marta Aguirre | Mary Pizzo | McKaylie Reamy | McKensie Sisco | Megan Kohler | Melissa Rhine | Michele Hagan | Miguel Bustillos | Miyuki Lawrence | Olga Hernandez | Patricia Gonzalez | Paul Zamora | Prescilla Whitley | Priscilla Terrazas | Raychelle Baptist | Reagan House | Rebecca Berringer |Renee Barber | Reynaldo Rios | Richard Davidson | Rocio Medrano-Lopez | Roderick MacNeil | Roseanne Castro | Roxanne Freas | Ruth Pena | Ryan Carmody | Samantha Dillard | Sandra Lozano | Sandra Gomez | Sara O’Connor | Sara Sjoquist | Sarahi Ibarra-Ruiz | Sawsan Fadel | Shane Menard | Shanekia Hall | Sheridan Riddle | Sheridan Cordova | Simeon Law | Stephanie McGirt |Taylor Brem | Taylor Johnston | Terri Simmons | Tina Poe | Tori Hudson | Ty Little | Tyler Goodwin | Tyler Yanik | Tyrone Gordon | Vaishnavi Dusi | Vivian Martin | Waylon Randolf | William Bailey | Xanthe Lopez |Yannick Ducros | Yvonne Ruiz

 

Meet 2021's Teacher of the Year


Sarah Sutar

 

Certification Area: Core Subjects EC-6
5th-Grade Math / Science Teacher
Sienna Crossing Elementary
Fort Bend ISD

“Sarah provides that positive support daily. She gives every single child her very best each day while instilling a love of learning, making it both fun and meaningful. Her love of learning combined with her lifelong learning mentality makes her an excellent role model for our 5th graders.”

– Principal

Sarah Sutar

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