LAKE TRAVIS, Texas — The Texas Association of School Administrators has announced its six finalists for the 2019 Texas Teacher of the Year program. Among them is Lake Travis ISD teacher Megan Holden.
“To be thought of as one of the best teachers in Texas, is, and I know how great teachers in Texas are, is really humbling,” said Holden.
Holden was chosen as the Region 13 Secondary Teacher of the Year, while Laren Bain of New Braunfels ISD is the Region 13 Elementary Teacher of the year.
Holden of Lake Travis High School is an English II and AP art history teacher. She has taught at LTHS for 20 years.
"If I can break those things down for kids, it really changes their lives,” said Holden.
But it's much of what she does outside of the school day that helps make her a finalist for the Texas Teacher of the Year Award.
"Over the years I have seen kids that haven't been able to learn because of something,” said Holden.
So she helped launch Cav's Kids and the Cav Lounge, which are both programs that aim to help kids who are going through a tough time.
"There are some kids who don't have the basics,” said Holden.
It's a spot where students can get clothes, shoes, food, things like face wash and toothpaste, even bedding.
So far she said they've helped between 200 and 300 kids with the donations from the community. She said that a little bit of extra attention can truly be life-changing for a student.
"Teachers are the ones that interact with kids every day, and so if we're able to keep an eye on these kids, then they're more likely to come to school, they're more likely to graduate, they're more likely to go to college,” said Holden.
The Texas Secondary Teacher of the year finalists include Holden; Karyn Ard, Troup High School, Troup ISD; and Jeff Wheatcraft, Alamo Heights Junior School, Alamo Heights ISD. Texas Elementary Teacher of the year finalists include: Rhonda Peña, Bryan Elementary School, Mission CISD; Joe Parthemore, Cannon Elementary School, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD; and Andrea Greimel, Carvajal Early Childhood Center, San Antonio ISD.
“Every day in public schools across Texas, teachers perform miracles as they inspire children for lifelong learning,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of TASA, which has coordinated the Texas Teacher of the Year program since 2011. “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.”
The six finalists will be invited to Austin in September for interviews by 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. They will choose two state-level winners -- Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year -- and select one to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year Program. Winners will be announced on Sept. 14 at the at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, where the 40 Regional Teachers of the Year will also be recognized.
A panel of judges made up of representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year's Texas Teacher of the Year finalists chose the finalists from the 40 Texas Regional Teachers of the Year. That's one elementary and one secondary teacher from each of the 20 Texas Education Service Center regions.
The 2019 Texas Regional Teachers of the Year include:
Rhonda Peña, Bryan Elementary School, Mission CISD (finalist)
Timothy Cantu, United High School, United ISD
Evalynn Sherrod, Flour Bluff Intermediate School, Flour Bluff ISD
Kristine Bundy, West Oso High School, West Oso ISD
Stacie Konvicka, Wharton Elementary School, Wharton ISD
Janet Johnson, Wharton High School, Wharton ISD
Jeanna Peña, Lamkin Elementary School, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
Holly Hartman, Memorial High School, Spring Branch ISD
Christy Cunningham, Bridge City Elementary School, Bridge City ISD
Terry Morris, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School, Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD
Kristi Ballard, A.R. Turner Elementary School, Willis ISD
Jennifer Duffer, Montgomery High School, Montgomery ISD
Kylie Altier, Brooks Quinn Jones Elementary School, Nacogdoches ISD
Karyn Ard, Troup High School, Troup ISD (finalist)
Jennifer Arden, Como-Pickton Elementary School, Como-Pickton CISD
Tracey Campbell, Mount Pleasant Junior High School, Mount Pleasant ISD
Lexi Law, Ben Franklin Elementary School, Wichita Falls ISD
Heather Preston, Rider High School, Wichita Falls ISD
Craig Sandy, Richardson Heights Elementary School, Richardson ISD
Beth Poquette Drews, L.V. Stockard Middle School, Dallas ISD
Joe Parthemore, Cannon Elementary School, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD (finalist)
Kyle Christensen, Bill R. Johnson CTE Center, Crowley ISD
Tanya Linex, Jose Antonio Navarro Elementary School, Corsicana ISD
Joseph Merlo, C.E. Ellison High School, Killeen ISD
Lauren Bain, Carl Schurz Elementary School, New Braunfels ISD
Megan Holden, Lake Travis High School, Lake Travis ISD (finalist)
Kassidi Seaton, Sweetwater Intermediate School, Sweetwater ISD
Ashlei Adams, Merkel High School, Merkel ISD
Macy Smithson, Fort Concho Elementary School, San Angelo ISD
Adan Cortez III, Del Rio High School, San Felipe Del Rio CISD
Jan Stovall, Morningside Elementary School, Dumas ISD
Kimberly Johnson, Borger High School, Borger ISD
Tiffany Beeles, Upland Heights Elementary School, Frenship ISD
Kathy Appleton, Coronado High School, Lubbock ISD
Monica Soto, Alpine Elementary School, Alpine ISD
Ashlee Castro, Alpine Middle School, Alpine ISD
Anna M. Peden, Desert Hills Elementary School, Clint ISD
Eduardo Jose Hinojos, Americas High School, Socorro ISD
Andrea Greimel, Carvajal Early Childhood Center, San Antonio ISD (finalist)
Jeff Wheatcraft, Alamo Heights Junior School, Alamo Heights ISD (finalist)