Elmer Nealy (2013 Curriculum & Instruction Alumnus) was nominated as the Teacher of the Year at I.M. Terrell Elementary in Fort Worth ISD. He will go on to compete with other teachers across his district for the district award.
"This award means a lot to me. I've wanted to be a teacher since I can remember and now I have no doubts that I chose the right career. Serving my students is what I'm good at and what I love to do," shared Nealy in regards to winning his award.
Nealy is a 2nd and 3rd grade bridge teacher.
Alumna Amber Simpson receives Milken Educator Award
Amber Simpson (Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999) who is a master teacher at Barrera Veterans Elementary School in Von Ormy, got the surprise of a lifetime when she was presented with a Milken Educator Award–and $25,000–at an all-school assembly. Simpson is Somerset Independent School District's first winner of the prestigious Award, the sole Texan to receive the honor this 2016-17 season, and among up to only 35 honorees nationwide. She can use the cash prize however she chooses. Read the full press release and watch the moment she learned she won in the video above!
Alumna Puts Practice to the Test, Wins Three Awards
On September 21, South San ISD (San Antonio, TX) principals were recognized by the school board for 2015-16 Exemplary achievement in various categories. Alumna Yvonne Hernandez (School Improvement) was awarded for: Outstanding First Year Principal; Outstanding Principal of the Year; and, Greatest Academic Gains (Secondary). Principal of the Year awards were determined by a peer vote; and the remaining awards were determined by TEA data.
"I believe I was chosen as principal of the year by my peers, because they understood that I was new to the district, new to the secondary level, and new to the position," Hernandez said. "They also knew that I took on a huge undertaking being that my campus was a Reconstituted campus and had received much negative publicity. They were able to see how in one year my campus received very positive feedback from our community and was academically successful." Hernandez took over Dwight Middle School in 2015 and in one year received three distinctions from TEA in Social Studies, Top 25% Closing the Performance Gap, and Post-Secondary Readiness. "We received the most distinctions at the secondary level in my school district," Hernandez shared. "This was my favorite moment as the principal of Dwight because our results validated all of the hard work my students, parents, teachers, staff, and administrative team poured into improving our instructional program and our campus overall."
Hernandez has various anecdotes to share regarding her coursework and professors who helped shape her skill-set, but her bottom line message was: "...if you are passionate about changing and improving our school systems, Texas State's School Improvement Program will provide you with the skills and support necessary to be a successful Agent of Change."
Dr. Clint-Michael Reneau, director of the Office of Disability Services at Texas State University was the recipient of the Diversity in Excellence (Staff) Award. Reneau is a doctoral graduate from the Adult, Professional, and Community Engagement program.
Diana Benner, Educational Technology Master's program alumna, was selected to join the Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert Program. Benner is the Director of Professional Development at Texas Computer Education Association.
Alumna Crystal Kelley, middle school teacher at Goodnight Middle School (SM-CISD) was chosen as Regional Secondary Teacher of the Year. She was one of 40 regional winners who competed for Texas Teacher of the Year.
COE Students Work Hard to Bring Books to Children
During their busiest semester just prior to embarking on student teaching, 19 Elementary interns in the College of Education took on a Book Drive for their service learning project that resulted in 20 boxes of book donations from Ohio and Texas as well as gifts totaling $1,100.
When these hardworking students realized they had the means to collect books for a school in Denham Springs, LA, which had just lost everything due to devastating floods, they stepped up and dove in feet first. While many of them didn’t realize just how daunting such a project would be when they signed up, that didn’t stop them from delivering in a big Texas-size way. Their instructor offered them the opportunity, but was not involved beyond that—the students wanted to take the lead on this project. Using the GroupMe text messaging application, students kept each other up-to-date and on task.
While sorting the books, students found an old favorite they couldn't resist reading again after so many years: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. To their surprise they found a lovely and lengthy inscription penned by Eric Carle himself. Even more surprising was the value of the book: $900.
The students had collected $200 to pay for shipping the books, but thanks to the boyfriend of one of the student's, shipping will come at no cost. He volunteered to ship them to Denham Springs, LA for free. The money will be sent to the Louisiana elementary school along with the highly-valuable Eric Carle book.
Additionally, one student’s mom collected 30 books in Centerburg, Ohio and sent them to Denham Springs Elementary on behalf of Texas State University.
We're proud of our #Bobcats for stepping up and helping others beyond their local community!
Alyssa Andrews, Esther Baker, Korinne Litrell, Alexandra Bradley, Serena Campbell, Brianna Campos, Britanny Cox, Mikayla Dillenburg, Jessica Escobedo, Kallie Green, Brooke Hurlbut, Lexi LeLeux, Amanda Lepola, Jamie Lewis, T’Keyah Lewis, Marissa Pena, Raemi Walker, Sara Weaver, Elena Zavala
Graduate Students and Faculty Come Together
One of the goals for College of Education professors is to work actively with students and make public what they are learning from one another through courses and research. They do this by presenting at professional conferences and publishing in academic journals side-by-side with students in their programs.
Master's of Education in Reading Education students and faculty did just that when they presented at the International Literacy Conference in Boston, MA, over the summer. Dr. Gwynne Ash, graduate student Isabelle Salazar, and Dr. Jane Saunders can be seen photographed just before their presentation of The Kids are All Right: Guiding Adolescents' Critical Use of Social Media to Read and Respond to Their World. The three currently have a manuscript under review related to this work. Additionally, graduate students Erika Chody and Perkins Goode, along with author Duncan Tonatiah presented The Power of Social Justice History: Transforming Understandings through Critical Literacy with Dr. Sharon O'Neal.
Graduate students Brett Lee and Claudia Kramer Santamaria in the School Improvement program were inducted into the 2016-18 Jackson Scholars Network cohort by the University Council of Educational Administration.
Senior Stephanie Barker was awarded the New Braunfels Retired Teachers Association Fall Scholarship. Barker is currently student teaching at New Braunfels Middle School.
"Receiving this scholarship is not only as honor but also a stepping-stone for the next chapter of my life in education. I hope to use this scholarship as a start to achieving my master's in education administration. Student teaching has been a blessing in preparing me for the years to come. I can truly say I will take what I've learned from the teachers I've shadowed and instill these same lessons in my students. I firmly believe that my learning as a future educator doesn't stop here; it only begins."
In announcing Barker as the recipient, NBRTA sited Barker as "a very deserving student and an excellent representative of [the] strong teaching program at Texas State University."
Isaac Torres, a doctoral student in the School Improvement program, is the 2016-17 recipient of the Graduate College Scholarship and the Celebrity Classic Endowed Scholarship. Torres' goal is to be a publishing, tenured professor at a major research university, while fulfilling his dream to complete meaningful work--affecting the lives of underserved and marginalized people in a positive and lasting way. In fact, Torres' interest in the SI program came from working with the community.
"After working in the education field for 5 years, from a community development perspective, I knew that in order for me to initiate real, lasting change for our most in-need families, I had to acquire more knowledge and skills. The Ph.D. in School Improvement program was suggested as a logical next stop to me by one of my mentors on campus, Dr. Michelle Hamilton in Health and Human Performance. She saw my passion and potential to work for effective change in the community, and acknowledged the SI program as a correct fit for such work."
Thus far, Torres has been enjoying his time in the SI program.
"The faculty is a group of active, engaged, knowledgeable, and experienced educators and researchers. The students whom I've met from multiple cohorts are impassioned and friendly, and the content is challenging and enlightening. I've found that by working intensely, and collaboratively, I am starting to shape into the scholar that I've dreamed myself to be."