HOUSTON (October 10, 2018) – The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) has announced that Jeff Wheatcraft is the Texas Teacher of the Year and the Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Wheatcraft is a middle school Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teacher at Alamo Heights Junior School in San Antonio. Wheatcraft came into teaching by completing the Texas Teachers alternative certification program (ACP) in 2006 earning his Art teacher certification. At the same time, he earned his science teacher certificate through Texas Teachers and transitioned into science during his second year of teaching.
There are more than 350,000 teachers in Texas and Jeff was selected through a lengthy process as the best teacher in the state. A panel of judges composed of representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year’s Texas Teacher of the Year finalists select the finalists from the 40 Texas Regional Teachers of the Year — one elementary and one secondary teacher from each of the 20 Texas Education Service Center regions. TASA then selects the Texas Teacher of the Year. In the past, Wheatcraft has been nominated twice for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
He will now compete with educators from across the country to be the National Teacher of the Year as selected by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Wheatcraft will participate in one-of-a-kind professional learning opportunities designed to hone communications skills, expand knowledge of education policy, and grow teaching and learning practices. The goal of this programming is to elevate the voices of teachers and ensure that teachers are leaders in state and national policy conversations. The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) is chosen from the State Teachers of the Year by a national selection committee representing the major national education organizations. This spring, the National Teacher of the Year will be introduced to the American people by the U.S. President.
When asked about teaching, Wheatcraft said, “There has not been a day in my teaching career that I wake up and don’t want to go into school. I love working on lesson plans that create something unique and inspiring and then sitting back and thinking – I can’t wait to see what the students are going to do with this!”
Wheatcraft was working as a swing dance instructor, but he and his wife knew he needed a career path better suited for a new family. His wife realized that with such a passion for teaching and watching people learn as an instructor that he would be great in the classroom. They saw a billboard from Texas Teachers and they wrote down the number and called that day. He joined the program that month and he started teaching that fall.
“We could not be prouder of Jeff and his accomplishments as a teacher,” said Vernon Reaser, CEO of Texas Teachers. “We had just launched in 2005 to attract great people like Jeff into the teaching profession. To see all that he has accomplished and how many lives he has positively impacted truly inspires all of us to do even more!”
Wheatcraft will have a very busy schedule for the next year as the Texas Teacher of the Year but will also make sure his students continue to make progress in middle school.
When asked why he thinks he is the Teacher of the Year, Wheatcraft stated, “My students are successful because I find out what they truly need – not what the state or the school says they need. I find out what each student truly needs to be successful and make sure they get that throughout the entire year.”
For additional details about Jeff Wheatcraft -please visit Texas Teachers!
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