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2021 Region 7 Teachers of the Year Announced


Region 7 Education Service Center is honored to announce that Sarah Nixon from Hallsville ISD and Johna Tritt from Kilgore ISD have been named Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year for Region 7. Both of these educators will represent Region 7 as semifinalists in the 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year.


Nixon and Tritt were nominated by their local school districts for their dedication to their students and the capability to inspire them, ability and willingness to work cooperatively with colleagues, drive to initiate activities that improve instruction for students, ability to work effectively with different groups in the community, desire to stay informed about current educational theories and practices, and their ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education.


In 2008, Elementary Teacher of the Year, Sarah Nixon, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Nixon continued her education at California State Stanislaus University to obtain her California teaching credential. In 2012, she moved to Colorado, where she was a special education aide and a second grade teacher. In 2013, Sarah moved to Texas where she has been teaching third grade at Hallsville North Elementary. She has fully embraced her role in Hallsville, coaching second grade chess for University Interscholastic League competitions, youth softball, and youth basketball. Nixon is also a technology integration leader at North Elementary and has a passion for bringing in new, innovative ways to reach the kids in her class and her school. She also obtained her Gifted and Talented Certification and English as a Second Language Certification through Region 7 Education Service Center.


“Mrs. Nixon is an outstanding teacher and continually serves her students with passion, patience, and professionalism,” said Hallsville ISD Superintendent Jeffrey Collum. “We are very blessed to have her as a team member here in HISD and are very proud of her receiving this recognition.”


Secondary Teacher of the Year, Johna Tritt, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Language and Composition and Secondary Education from the University of North Texas in 1993, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2001. After spending thirteen years as a campus principal/instructional leader in several East Texas school districts such as Chapel Hill, Sabine, Gilmer, Arp, Henderson, and Marshall, Tritt returned to the classroom in Kilgore in 2017 to find her passion teaching students again.


“Kilgore High School and KISD could not be more proud of Ms. Tritt,” said Kilgore ISD Superintendent Dr. Andy Baker. “Her love for her students and her determination to show them that they can achieve more than they ever thought they could is truly exemplary.  I believe she sets the bar for which we as educators all strive to achieve.  We are blessed to have Ms. Tritt as a Bulldog!”


Due to this year’s pandemic, the annual Teacher of the Year Luncheon hosted by Region 7 Education Service Center was canceled. Instead, each regional nominee was recognized on social media for his/her achievements at the district. On Monday, August 3rd, Principals April Cox, Kilgore High School, and Danieli Parker, Hallsville North Elementary, surprised each winner, presenting them with gifts donated from local education-supporting businesses, including Horace Mann, Brookshires, Hospitality Health ER, and Global Graphics.


In September, Nixon and Tritt will compete against the other thirty-eight Regional Teachers of the Year, which are reviewed by a panel of judges determined by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). Six finalists will be chosen and interviewed, and winners will be chosen and announced in late September at the Virtual TASA/TASB Convention. 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 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






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