Killeen ISD honors 2021 Teachers of the Year in livestreamed event

Local News

KILLEEN, Texas – One is described as an angel, and the other is a former soldier known for going above and beyond to help anyone in need. Both are teachers of the year in the Killeen Independent School District.

As part of a livestreamed event on KISD-TV Tuesday, two groups of district representatives surprised the 2021 elementary and secondary teacher of the year at their front doors.

The elementary winner for the current school year is James Cook, a fifth-grade teacher at Cedar Valley Elementary School. The secondary winner is Tracy King, a special education teacher at Manor Middle School.

Before revealing the winners in the virtual ceremony, district leaders announced finalists in the annual teacher of the year process.

The two teachers of the year each received $5,000. The ten finalists received $1,000. The remaining campus representatives received $500. Billboards throughout the area feature the celebrated teachers.

Elementary finalists are Jamie Hanson (Iduma), Rubidia Jaco-Melendez (Pershing Park), Brand Luna (Trimmier), Leslie Locklear (Venable Village), Carla Fears (West Ward) and Anna King (Willow Springs).

Secondary finalists include Kandice Mott (Audie Murphy Middle School), Arnold Murphy (Nolan Middle School), Teka Hyatt (Rancier Middle School) and Jonathan Morris (Shoemaker High School)

Cedar Valley Principal Connie Morris praised Cook, a former soldier who readily shares life lessons far beyond the academic curriculum.

The principal recalled that during the school closure a year ago, the dedicated fifth-grade teacher conducted a scheduled Zoom session from a doctor’s waiting room. He’s also known to jump in whenever needed during dismissal, even when it’s cold or raining.

“He is the epitome of a great teacher,” Morris said. “He teaches lifelong lessons.”

 The full slate of campus teachers of the year for 2020-2021 include:

Elementary Teachers of the Year:

Kristie Duerre, Douse

Renee McCall, Bellaire

Crystal Stinson, Brookhaven

James Cook Jr., Cedar Valley

Amanda Shanahan, Clarke

Angela Harris, Clear Creek

Erica McKinney, Clifton Park

Angela Van, Fowler

Jessica Cantu, Harker Heights

Sandy Cornet, Hay Branch

Dana King, Haynes

Jamie Hanson, Iduma

Anna Santos, Ira Cross

Montana Willis, Maude Moore Wood

Anna Maria DeLuca, Maxdale

Erin Kelly, Meadows

Robin Bullock, Montague Village

Janice Huckabee, Mountain View

Kristian Childs, Nolanville

Lindley Mendoza, Hobby

Roxanna Rosas, Peebles

Rubidia Jaco-Melendez, Pershing Park

Shelley Lewis, Reeces Creek

Jennifer Ivicic, Cavazos

Kristin Neff, Saegert

Kelli Crayton, Skipcha

Benita Harris, Sugar Loaf

Ralph Deffendall IV, Timber Ridge

Brandon Luna, Trimmier

Leslie Locklear, Venable Village

Carla Fears, West Ward

Anna King, Willow Springs

Secondary Teachers of the Year:

Kandice Mott, Audie Murphy

Kimberly McClish, Patterson

Andrea Butler, Eastern Hills

Melinda Payton, Gateway MS

Tiffany Arbaugh, Liberty Hill

Karen Mullings, Live Oak Ridge

Tracy King, Manor

Arnold Murphy, Nolan

Simone Gordon, Palo Alto

Teka Hyatt, Rancier

Michael Cranford, Smith

Tracy Wilson, Union Grove

Kimberly Strovers, Ellison

Monique Bakken, Early College

Heather Turner, Gateway HS

Alina Wilder, Harker Heights HS

Samone Coward, Killeen

Garrison Hennig, Career Center

Melissa Schroeder, Pathways

Jonathan Morris, Shoemaker

Source: Killeen Independent School District

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