Julie Hall, a sixth-grade science teacher at McAnally Intermediate School, received the $10,000 “Teacher of the Year” Award from Jackie Rains of the Reilly Family Foundation during the 15th Annual Marva Collins Teaching Excellence Awards program held April 13 at Aledo High School.
After joking that her selection was a “mistake” and thanking her husband for supporting her, Hall gave a stunning shout out to McAnally Intermediate School Principal Bob Harmon, calling him “not only the greatest administrator I’ve ever worked with, but possibly one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.”
“McAnally is a family, 100 percent, and like any family, you can squabble and fight, but you’ve got each other’s backs,” she said. “The reason that family is there and that attitude is there is our amazing administrator.”
Other winners of the evening included:
Sarah Myser, Faulk Company Award: “Secondary Teacher of the Year”
Rebecca Buchanan, Hardick Family Award: “Intermediate Teacher of the Year”
Callie Caldwell, First Financial Bank Award: “Elementary Teacher of the Year”
Anna Mazzei, F. Howard & Mary D. Walsh Award: “Beginning Teacher of the Year”
Mary McLellan, Dan Manning: “IDEA Award”
Cheryl Jones, Don R. Daniel: “Principal of the Year Award”
Debbie Henrietta, Marsha Miholovich: “Professional Support Award”
Matt Odom, VLK Architects, Inc.: “Technology Award”
Peggy Kennedy, Buford-Thompson Company: “Transportation Award”
Ryon Smith, Buford-Thompson Company” “Maintenance Award”
Christen Shaffer, Moritz/Hardick Award: “Paraprofessional of the Year”
Angela Ward, Moritz/Hardick Award for “Child Nutrition”
Johnny Campbell — completing a decade of service on the AISD school board next month — thanked the sponsors for providing $31,000 in monetary awards for recipients, saying the annual awards program “honors the best of the best in the best school district anywhere.”
Anna Mazzei, accepting the “Beginning Teacher” Award from Stacey Jandrucko, of Walsh Ranch, said working at McAnally Intermediate has been her ultimate goal since college due to the environment she experienced there as a student.
Mike Carter, of First Financial Bank, noted Callie Caldwell’s passion for teaching math. He quoted one of her young students as he presented her with the $2,500 “Elementary Teacher” award: “Man, she sure does get happy about fractions; I wonder what she’d do if she won the lottery?”
“Well, this isn’t the lottery,” Carter added, “but I hope you will use this award to multiply happiness for yourself and your students.”
Rebecca Buchanan, accepting the Hardick Family Award for “Intermediate Teacher” from Kimberly Hardick, said the people she works with impress her daily, as well as the creativity and motivation present on all the district’s campuses. “I really am living a dream, and I’m going to continue chasing my dream,” she said.
Superintendent Derek Citty presented the Faulk Company Award on behalf of longtime supporter Tim Faulk to Sarah Myser, who thanked others for supporting her during a difficult year. “I love Aledo, and I love teaching here,” she said. “I think as long as we keep thinking we can improve, then we’re still doing a decent job.”
Other teacher award nominees were: Lyndsie Burleson, Matt Carpenter, Kendall Carroll, Melissa Chun, Teana Coffman, Chelsea Cook, Michael Corley, Emma Cyrocki, Sandy Dempsey, Tricia Llackfeld, Kathy Jacobs, Michelle Johnson, Crystal Mehrhoff, Karey Moore, Joy Powell, Lynn Richter, Joe Roquemore, Julia Rucker, Keri Russell, Stephanie Smith, Angie Trawick, Caren Tyer and Olivia Young.
The AHS Jazz Band, directed by Jake Alvin, set a polished tone for the awards with music throughout the evening, and the McAnally Intermediate School Choir, directed by Pam Burchill, presented two choral selections.
The Reilly Family Foundation created the annual awards program in 2000. Since then, other corporations have joined in to recognize AISD staff members.
“I want every student in my class to leave that year feeling loved and valued and having discovered something new about themselves. Each student is unique and special and has their own giftings and is designed perfectly for their path their life is going to take them on. But being 11 and 12 years old, they don’t always see that. They see a lot of judgement and they see a lot of failure, and they see where they fall short. So, my biggest goal is I want every one to feel that they have some amazing part of them to contribute to our world. Who I teach is really what’s important ... my students discovering their own sense of worth and value.” — Hall