Educators were honored at annual Celebration of Excellence Gala

Photo courtesy of BISD

Beaumont ISD named its 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year at the Celebration of Excellence Gala held May 13. Dishman Elementary School Teacher Wanda Brooks was named the 2016-2017 BISD Elementary Division Teacher of the Year, and Vincent Middle School Teacher Melissa Chapman was named the 2016-2017 BISD Secondary Division Teacher of the Year.

Brooks is a fourth-grade math teacher at Dishman Elementary who has 25 years of teaching experience and has been working in BISD since 1991. She has a bachelor’s in education from Lamar University and is a member of the Association of Teachers and Professional Educators.

Chapman teaches sixth-eighth grade reading at Vincent Middle School. Chapman has 19 years of teaching experience. She has a bachelor’s in elementary education specializing in reading and is completing her master’s in educational administration at Lamar University.

The Ozen High School NJROTC kicked off the evening with the presentation of colors, followed by the Rev. Willie Williams, a teacher at King Middle School, providing the invocation. Throughout the evening, video vignettes of campus teachers of the year were shown, doing what they do best — teaching and interacting with our students. Music was provided by the Flava Band and KBMT 12 News/KJAC News Anchor Vanessa Holmes served as the mistress of ceremonies.

The 2016 Teacher of the Year Selection Committee was comprised of business partners, parents, students and community stakeholders. The committee interviewed the top five elementary and secondary campus teachers of the year. The committee included Margaret Swope, chair, Lamar University; Sal Guerrero, co-chair, Beaumont Public Schools Foundation Inc.; Pat Calhoun, Lamar Institute of Technology; Brittane Cockrell, Ozen High School Student Body President; Sidney Guillory, Central High School Student Body President; Josh Williams, West Brook High School Student Body President; Hannah Ward, Beaumont Foundation; Michael Wolf, Beaumont A&M Club; Mary Beth Woodall, Association of Texas Professional Educators; David Gorsich, ExxonMobil; and June White, BISD Retired Teachers Association.

Brooks and Chapman will go on to represent BISD at the regional level. If successful at the regional level, they will compete at the State of Texas Teacher of the Year. The Texas Teacher of the Year program has been in existence since 1969 and showcases outstanding educators. This program is facilitated by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). According to TASA, the Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor that the State of Texas can bestow upon a teacher.

In March 2016, a Teacher of the Year nominee was selected from each BISD campus. The 28 nominees were chosen by their colleagues. Each nominee received a gift bag filled with goodies and supplies from Neighbors Emergency Center, a spa gift certificate from Solutions Day Spa, a certificate from Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton, a $50 Pappadeaux gift card from Beaumont Emergency Center and a floral centerpiece.

Brooks and Chapman each received $1,500, an iPad from Neighbors Emergency Center and an overnight hotel stay with breakfast and a day spa gift certificate from the MCM Eleganté.