Jillian Howard, Clear Creek ISD a bilingual teacher at C.D. Landolt Elementary School, has been named Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators.
“What an incredible honor for Jillian Howard and CCISD,” said Dr. Greg Smith, who himself holds the title of Texas Superintendent of the Year. “She represents the high standards of our district and all of our outstanding teachers. We congratulate Mrs. Howard for leading the way in education with passion, determination and a focus on doing what’s right for our students and their families.”
Six exceptional educators from across Texas were chosen as finalists in the Texas Teacher of the Year program.
“These phenomenal educators symbolize the thousands of teachers across the state who are committed to making a difference in children’s lives,” said Johnny Veselka, executive director of TASA. “I congratulate the six finalists who diligently work to ensure their students not only master the academic content, but also are prepared to face the future with perseverance, integrity and a love of learning.”
In their Teacher of the Year applications, each educator offered insight into their teaching backgrounds, philosophy and style. Jillian Howard wrote, “Growing up, school was my only refuge. As the daughter of a 14-year-old single mom, I was forced to become an adult at a very early age. I worried about being alone, about the gunshots that rang through the night, and about the Lord protecting me.
“But school was different; it was the place where I could be a kid. If I was lonely at home, at school there was companionship. If I was in fear at home, I felt safe at school. If I didn’t get a meal at home, I could eat at school. If at home things seemed hopeless, at school therein lay hope for the future. School gave me a sense of empowerment in a life where I felt powerless. I teach now with a burning conviction to recreate the refuge that school had been for me.”
The elementary school finalists are:
- Connie Bagley, a dyslexia specialist at Crockett Elementary in San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District;
- Julie Woodard, a 6th grade social studies teacher at D.S. Pullen Elementary in Rockwall ISD.
The secondary education finalists are:
- Carlos Briano, a journalism teacher at El Dorado High School in Socorro ISD;
- Christian DeBerry, special education teacher at William P. Hobby Middle School in Northside ISD;
- Monica Washington, an English teacher at Texas High School in Texarkana ISD.