Kilgore, Texas - Region 7 Education Service Center is honored to announce that Ashley Phelps from Tyler ISD and Amy Thompson from Lindale ISD have been named Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year for Region 7. Both educators will represent Region 7 as semifinalists in the 2022 Texas Teacher of the Year.
Phelps and Thompson were nominated by their local school districts for their dedication to their students and the capability to inspire them, drive to initiate activities that improve instruction for students, desire to stay informed about current educational theories and practices, and their ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education.
Elementary Teacher of the Year, Ashley Phelps, is the Physical Education teacher at Andy Woods Elementary School in Tyler. Phelps earned her Bachelor of Exercise Sports Science in Kinesiology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. After college, Phelps worked as a Youth Fitness Instructor at BodyWorks Gym in Lubbock. She then moved back in 2009 to her hometown of Tyler to begin her journey in elementary education.
Tyler ISD Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford says he is proud of Coach Phelps and her accomplishments. “I’ve said this many times, but Tyler ISD has the best teachers and educators in East Texas,” Crawford said. “It is always fun to honor the best of the best in our profession, and we are certainly doing so this afternoon.”
Phelps said that her greatest contributions and accomplishments in education are most apparent when she successfully instills the joy of doing physical activities in her students. “I have found success by creating innovative opportunities such as a walking club, a neighborhood run, a basketball tournament, and even an indoor glow-in-the-dark golf course,” Phelps said. “I strive to encourage my students and help them realize the many talents they each have to offer.”
Secondary Teacher of the Year, Amy Thompson, is the Digital Media, Computers, and ASL teacher at Lindale High School. Thompson earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and her Master of Science in Administration at LeTourneau University. After college, Thompson worked for many years as a small business owner, and in 2007, she earned her Teaching Certification from LeTourneau University and began her teaching career.
“We are so excited that Amy Thompson has been selected as the Region 7 Secondary Teacher of the Year,” said Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt. “Mrs. Thompson is one of our finest teachers in Lindale ISD, and Lindale ISD is loaded with phenomenal teachers. Mrs. Thompson does a great job building special relationships with students and parents. Students always talk about Mrs. Thompson being their favorite teacher.”
Thompson accredits her initial push into education to her mom, who always told her she was destined to become a teacher. After two years at Lindale High School, Thompson was presented with the idea of developing an American Sign Language program. While growing up, sign language had been her second language as her way to communicate with her younger brother, who lost his hearing as a toddler. Growing this program has allowed Thompson to educate and inspire students and pass on her brother’s story to future generations.
“(Mrs. Thompson’s) sign language classes are very popular; therefore, we have to limit enrollment in her classes,” says Surratt. “Mrs. Thompson is simply an awesome teacher, and now she is the Region 7 Teacher of the Year!”
At Region 7’s Teacher of the Year Luncheon on August 3, both winners were presented with grand prizes, courtesy of Orr Cadillac. The dealership donated $2,500, which was split between the Elementary and Secondary winners.
“I’m so honored to be given this award and represent all of the teachers in our area,” said Phelps.
In September, Phelps and Thompson will compete against the other thirty-eight Regional Teachers of the Year, which are reviewed by a panel of judges at TASA Headquarters in Austin. Six finalists will be chosen, and they will be invited to Austin for personal interviews. Winners will be chosen and announced at the Texas Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony in Austin. The Texas Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year will become spokespeople for all teachers in the state of Texas. They will also serve as traveling ambassadors for public education with a demanding schedule of speeches, workshops, and presentations while continuing to teach in the classroom.
TASA is the professional association for Texas school superintendents and other administrators. The mission of the organization, which focuses on professional learning, advocacy, and member engagement, is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students. For more information about the program, please visit tasanet.org/awards.
Region 7 ESC is committed to district, charter, and student success by providing quality programs and services that meet or exceed customer expectations. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, Region 7 ESC participates in the planning development, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of innovative educational programs for 96 school districts and 10 charter schools in the counties of Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Nacogdoches, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Panola, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood. For more information, visit www.esc7.net.
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