Region 7 Education Service Center Announces its 2023 Teachers of the Year

Region 7 Education Service Center Announces its 2023 Teachers of the Year


Kilgore, Texas - Region 7 Education Service Center is honored to announce that Pydi Oliver from Lindale ISD and Catherine Jackson from Carthage ISD have been named Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year for Region 7. Both educators will represent Region 7 as semifinalists in the 2023 Texas Teacher of the Year.


Oliver and Jackson 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, Pydi Oliver, is a third-grade math and science teacher at Velma Penny Elementary in Lindale, Texas. Oliver earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Texas A&M University. Oliver comes from a legacy of educators, following her grandmother and mother’s footsteps, and loves to mentor new teachers with her breadth of knowledge and experience. “Some people were simply born to be teachers,” says Oliver. “I believe you should be the kind of teacher you request for your own children. My goal every year is to be a teacher [that] students never forget!”


“Mrs. Oliver is an awesome teacher,” says Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt. “She is incredible in every way. The students and parents love her each year. She is absolutely one of the finest teachers that I have ever seen.”


Secondary Teacher of the Year, Catherine Jackson, is an English II and AP Language Arts teacher at Carthage High School. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Sam Houston University and her Master of Science in Educational Research and Media Design at Full Sail University. Jackson began her teaching career in 1996 and has devoted over 25 years to the world of education as a lead teacher, educational consultant, and advisor to students and coworkers. In addition to her contributions to education, Jackson has also created and participated in many community service and outreach projects that bring communities and students together. “I initiated a program that focused on bringing happiness to others through affirmations for students, teachers, businesses, and organizations,” says Jackson. “Students purposefully left messages for others throughout the community-messages that affirmed that they mattered, their business mattered and that they are appreciated. This program continues to exist and help others-the name has changed but the concept still is practiced and has been since its inception in 2007.”


Carthage ISD Superintendent Jarrod Bitter states, “Ms. Jackson is a great ambassador for the field of education and for Carthage ISD. She is an excellent choice to represent Region 7 as Teacher of the Year, and we wish her well as she moves on to compete at the state level.”


At Region 7’s Teacher of the Year Luncheon on August 4, 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.


In October, Oliver and Jackson 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


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 95 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