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Lago Vista ISD
Teachers of the Year

Lago Vista ISD's Teacher of the Year selection process is based upon the methods and requirements used at the regional and state levels.  Candidates for the LVISD Teacher of the Year must be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled at their craft.  Furthermore, they must inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues, and play an active and useful role in the community, as well as in the school.  We are incredibly proud of these amazing teachers!

2015-2016 Lago Vista ISD Teachers of the Year

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Kim Cook
Kindergarten

Educational Philosophy:
Several years ago I read a quote that impacted me greatly.  James Comer, a Child Psychiatrist, stated: “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.”  I truly believe that as teachers we must establish caring relationships with our students and their families. When families and students realize that their teacher cares, than true learning can take place.  I believe that building relationships is critical in education.  We have to facilitate relationships with students, parents, and help our students build relationships with their classmates to form a class family that can work together. A motto of my alma mater states: “What starts here changes the world.”  I have this motto posted in my room to remind me everyday that I can make a difference in some small way.  Kindergarten is where children and families are introduced to public school. My wish each year is that children will leave feeling successful in some way and that parents understand the LVES is a good place for their children to be every day.  My hope is that children leave my class knowing that someone cared for them and believed in their ability to be successful. 


Educational Accomplishments:
After 20 years of being an educator, I have numerous educational experiences and achievements in which I am proud.  I am especially proud, when a six year old tells me,” Mrs. Cook, I want to be a teacher like you.”  I told my kindergarten teacher the same thing 48 years ago. She made me feel like a successful learner and I knew that I would be a teacher one day. I have read that fewer young adults are choosing to be teachers. We need to encourage children to become educators.  Ironically, one of the proudest moments occurred just recently. I had to make a quick Walmart stop on the way to school one morning to get some materials for a science experiment my children would be doing that day.  The cashier said, “You look like a teacher, but I didn’t know teachers started their day so early.”  Proudly, I said, “Yes I am a Kindergarten Teacher and teachers work all hours!”  When I got to my car, I had the realization that I get to do what I love everyday.  I know some individuals who make a lot more money than I do but they can’t say that they love what they do everyday.  I am grateful that I had teachers who cared for me and inspired me to become an educator of young children. So one I my proudest moments came one early morning when I realized that I had made it and that my childhood dreams had come true.  Yes, I teach Kindergarten and I love it!
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Amanda Hendrix
Life Skills

Educational Philosophy:
My educational philosophy is simple: I believe that every student has the ability to learn, grow, and experience independence and I believe that it is my responsibility as an educator to foster that independence in my students. I believe that for students with special needs, it is of the utmost importance that they are given the opportunity to experience life with as much freedom as possible and to have as many “typical” experiences as they can. I believe that interactions with typically developing peers are incredibly important and can be vital to the academic, social, and behavioral growth of students with special needs, and I believe that those experiences can be utterly life changing for both my students and their peers.


Educational Accomplishments:
The educational accomplishment that I’m most proud of in my relatively short time as a teacher thus far is the peer program that has been created at LVHS. I have watched a group of 11 general education students grow, mature, and form friendships with my students that are indescribably valuable to both my students and the peers. I have seen students who struggle in every other area of their academic day come into my room and absolutely shine, and I have see how my students’ lives have been changed by the caring, generous, and patient nature of the students that they work with. I have been honored to be a part of starting this program and can’t wait to see how it grows in the future and how many more lives it changes. 



2014-2015 Lago Vista ISD Teachers of the Year

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Cathy Evans
District ESL

Educational Philosophy:
Over nearly three decades, the layers of my educational philosophy have continued to expand and develop, but amidst all the changes one thing remains constant. It's all about the kids, and you need to love what you do. I believe it begins with creating a safe, comfortable, supportive learning environment for students of all backgrounds and abilities. As educators, we should establish well-defined goals, high expectations, and foster collaborative efforts with colleagues, parents, and the community in order to encourage success and motivate students to reach their full potential. By building relationships and getting to know our students, we can use various instructional strategies and methodologies to give them the skills and tools needed to become critical thinkers and successful problem solvers. I love watching the joy and excitement of our second language learners as they broaden their proficiency and confidence in the English language. I want my students to celebrate their achievements and realize that challenges can make us stronger, and mistakes can make us smarter.

Educational Accomplishments:
Although recalling a single moment is difficult, I believe that the ability to accept changes and challenges, in both my personal and professional life, and adapt with dignity, grace, and professionalism is one of my greatest accomplishments as an educator. I'm grateful for the diverse opportunities and pleasures of working with past and present colleagues, students, and parents. It is an honor to be an integral part of our ESL program and witness the accomplishments of students on all campuses across the district. I will always remember the day when an ESL student walked into my classroom and said, "I love coming in here. It makes me feel like the smartest person in the world."  I'm proud to be an educator, a teacher who touches the lives of her students and makes a difference. For me, that is the greatest accomplishment of all.
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Rachel Karg
5th Grade ELAR

Educational Philosophy:
My educational philosophy has evolved and changed over the years, however, one core belief has stayed constant. My philosophy is rooted in the idea of a student-centered classroom. I’ve always been motivated by the desire for students to play an active role in their learning, as the teacher acts as the guide or facilitator. I believe in empowering students with a voice and choice, while encouraging collaboration among learners. With this student-centered point of view I also believe deeply in a learning approach that allows students to see the purpose in their learning and be engaged in real-world problem solving. My students are no longer learning to read, but reading to learn and synthesize information. I strive for my students to be lifelong learners with the ability to think through concepts and issues and offer solutions. This belief allows me to incorporate and utilize technology in my classroom. My goal is to guide students to be producers of information as they learn to navigate and evaluate a large amount of material. In my opinion, students learn best by being a leader in the decision-making and by actively doing what they are learning about.

Educational Accomplishments:
The educational accomplishment I’m most proud of can’t actually be defined with numbers and data. My accomplishments happen every year when a non-reader enters my room and leaves as a reader. My greatest accomplishment happens when I can recommend a book and watch it fly off the shelf. My accomplishments happen when students return to me years later as published authors and avid readers. My accomplishments are the kids I've taught who go on to help make the world a better place. Students matter to me, and when I can help guide them to the desire to read and learn then I have accomplished my goal.



2013-2014 Lago Vista ISD Teachers of the Year

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Maria Bricker
7th Grade Mathematics

Educational Philosophy:
While working with peer educators, students, parents and community members, my educational philosophy continues to evolve, but the underlying principle remains that all students can reach their full potential when given the right tools. I believe that an educator should provide the structure for learning by establishing clear goals that should allow students the flexibility to reach their goals in their own individual ways. This should be accomplished in a comfortable, safe environment that includes teamwork from educators, parents, and student peers. Students learn that risk-taking and failure are positive steps toward success, and that when respect is given to others, as well as, to themselves, true student strengths and weaknesses are discovered. I love teaching math because it’s so easy to show students how risk-taking, failure, different viewpoints and different strategies, along with perseverance, all lead to a solution and success. Success makes learning fun and instills pride in everyone in the learning community.

Educational Accomplishments:
I do not have one single moment that I am most proud of as an educator, but I am proud of my ability and willingness to adapt and change when new situations arise. I have had a vast variety of teaching experiences including teaching children of military members overseas in Japan, to children in a small rural town in Alamogordo, New Mexico, to children in the suburbs of Washington DC in Stafford, Virginia, to children from large, medium and small cities in Texas. In each teaching position, the curriculum, the environment, the expectations, the student learning styles, and the district teaching methodology changed, and I enjoyed every single position! I learned to be flexible and to adapt, and as a result, I have such a broader base of experiences to incorporate into my teaching style and curriculum to give students the best educational experience possible. The students, parents, and fellow co-workers that I have had the privilege of working alongside for over the past two decades have truly taught me that education is the most powerful tool that we can possess to influence the world.
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Darcy Burke
Kindergarten

Educational Philosophy:
For me, the most important part of teaching children is caring. It all begins with caring for children and what becomes of them, learning their needs and wants, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. I care for the students’ futures and will do whatever I can to help students’ achieve their goals. Another important aspect of my job is to provide a safe environment, and to be a person that children trust and believe in. I love the challenge of building success for each learner and helping students reach their fullest potential. I am constantly learning, reading, researching, and eager for learning new insights from educational research and my teaching colleagues. I have high expectations for myself as a teacher. I also have high expectations for every child that I teach and will do my best each day to ensure the success of each child.

Educational Accomplishments:
As a Kindergarten teacher, I am very fortunate to have small successes almost every day. I see kiddos “ah-ha” moments all year long. As for one educational accomplishment, I cannot narrow it down to just that one special moment. I guess I would have to say that the best moments are when that little face looks up at you from a book and says, “I can read!” It is priceless!
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