It’s the time of year where the heat of summer is creeping in and students are gearing up to enjoy their summer vacation. This time of year always means it’s time for the school board to name each school’s Teacher of the Year and Paraprofessional of the Year. At the Anna Independent School District board of trustees meeting on May 18, teachers and families of students waited to hear the names of the winners.
Kimberly Bert, the Anna High School secretary, was named a Paraprofessional of the Year. Bert joined Anna High School at the beginning of this school year. She has been with the Anna ISD since 2014, working at Joe K. Bryant elementary and Anna Middle School.
Bert said she believes many aspects go into being a good paraprofessional.
“I think a good paraprofessional has to be flexible, dependable and pretty much fearless,” Bert said. “The phrase ‘that is not in my job description’ just does not really apply when you are a para.”
Bert also said her motto for this year has been “the little things are sometimes the big things.”
“Some days the most meaningful thing I can do is make something a little easier for a teacher, be a friendly face in the office or giving a word of encouragement,” Bert said. “I have a lot of ‘big’ responsibilities, but truly it is the little things that make a difference for the people I see every day.”
Bert said she loves the fact that she gets to interact on all levels-students, teachers, parents and administrators and winning paraprofessional was exciting and humbling.
“Winning paraprofessional of the year for AHS is such an honor,” Bert said. “I consider it a privilege to come to work every day and be with the staff on the campus of Anna High School. To me, this award means I have made a difference to the people I work with every day. They are the reason I come in each morning, so it is always nice to know I’ve done well by them.”
Lindsey Johnson, another recipient of the Teacher of the Year award, has been with the Anna School District for eight years. Johnson said she teaches third grade and to be the best teacher for her 21 amazing students, one must encompass three traits — compassion, courage and creativity.
“An outstanding teacher always puts the students’ best interests first,” Johnson said. “We should always be asking ourselves how can we reach each child to help them reach their full potential.”
Johnson said for maximum results, teachers should get to know their students’ personalities, learning styles and motivation goals.
Johnson said she lives by a quote from the 2014 Texas Teacher of the year, Monica Washington, “Accomplishments in education can never be considered accomplishments if they aren’t rooted in the success of others.”Johnson said she could not have worded that any better, and believes it fits well with her receiving Teacher of the Year award.
“Being named Teacher of the Year means that I have succeeded because of the efforts I have put into help my fellow teachers, teammates and students to succeed themselves,” Johnson said. “I am honored to work for a district where we are like family and we all consider our successes as those belonging to all of us.”
The Teachers of the Year were Stephanie Bradley from Early Childhood Development, Kristen McCoy from Joe K. Bryant, Laura Hendrix from Anna Middle School and Gayle Voigt out of Anna High School. The other winners of the Paraprofessional of the Year awards were Kelli Horton from Early Childhood Development, Gail Porter out of Joe K. Bryant, Adrienne Hopper from Sue E. Rattan, and Charles Leslie from Anna Middle School. Requests for comments from the other winners were not returned.