Troup teacher a finalist for 2019 Texas Teacher of the Year

by Cristin Parker
Courtesy Photo
Pictured, from left, are Karyn Ard and Bobby Dyess, THS principal. Courtesy Photo
Pictured, from left, are Karyn Ard and Bobby Dyess, THS principal.

Troup High School biology teacher Karyn Ard is one of six teachers who are getting recognized for their awesomeness.

Ard has been named Texas’ Region 7 Education Service Center (ESC)’s Secondary Teacher of the Year and is now a finalist for the Texas Association of School Administrators’ (TASA) 2019 Texas Teacher of the Year. The Texas Teacher of the Year program since 1969 has spotlighted teachers who demonstrate outstanding leadership and teaching excellence.

“Every day in public schools across Texas, teachers perform miracles as they inspire children for lifelong learning,” TASA Executive Director Kevin Brown said in a statement published on TASA’s website. “These six finalists are among the best in a profession that is perhaps the most important in our nation, both for individual children and for society. They are national heroes and deserve this tremendous honor. They have distinguished themselves among thousands of outstanding, dedicated teachers across our state and nation have who have answered the call to serve others.”

A panel of judges composed of representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year’s Texas Teacher of the Year finalists selected the finalists from the 40 Texas Regional Teachers of the Year — one elementary and one secondary teacher from each of the 20 Texas Education Service Center regions.

Ard teaches biology at Troup High School, where she has taught for the past nine years of her 22-year career in education.

“I believe that students should be given tools to allow them to think and solve problems for themselves,” Ard said in a statement made to the TASA. “Education is more than memorizing; it is understanding what has been taught and being able to apply that knowledge to the world around us. I believe that we should encourage our students to be innovative, by constantly working to develop activities that are unique and not ‘cookie cutter’ in nature, because those require them to only have a basic grasp of the material in order to get a good grade. It is vital to create a culture in which students learn to be active and engaged learners who question information and search for deeper meaning not only in lessons, but also on their own.”

The six finalists will be invited to Austin in September for interviews before a panel of judges composed of representatives of educational leadership associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State Board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year.

The panel will select two state-level winners — Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year — and designate one to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony Sept. 14 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, where the 40 Regional Teachers of the Year will also be recognized.

TASA is the professional association for Texas school administrators, providing networking and professional learning opportunities, legislative advocacy, and targeted communications to support the work of superintendents and other school leaders. TASA’s mission is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students.

Region 7 ESC is one of 20 regional education service centers statewide that participates in the planning, development, coordination, implementation and evaluation of innovative educational programs.

Created in 1967, Education Service Centers (ESCs) do not have tax levying or bonding authority and rely on grants and contracts for funding. Revenues are received from three primary sources: federal, state, and local funds. Region 7 currently serves 7 charters and 95 school districts, the largest amount of school districts of any ESC.

“Our teachers and administrators are committed to reaching higher levels of academic achievement and continuously improving our practices,” Region 7’s website states. “We are pleased to see our hard work and dedication translating to positive outcomes for all our students.”

Region 7 Education Service Center serves Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Nacogdoches, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Panola, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties.