June 26, 2013

Tina Veal-Gooch
Director of Public Relations
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

TISD Names Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year

Texarkana, TX – During their recent end-of-year celebration, Texarkana Independent School District named Amy Frierson as Elementary Teacher of the Year and Monica Washington as Secondary Teacher of the Year. Both now move forward for consideration as Region VIII Teacher of the Year.

Frierson, who has 18 years in education, serves as a 2nd Grade Teacher at the Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Curriculum & Instruction with a Master Mathematics Teacher Certification from Texas A&M University – Texarkana.

According to Frierson, she didn’t start her career off as a teacher but knew that was the direction she wanted her life to take. Through hard work and a few challenges, she accomplished her dream and joined the TISD Tiger Family in 1996.

While growing up, there were many teachers who helped mold Frierson’s dream. However, there was one who had the most influence on her decision – her third grade teacher and grandmother – who never showed favoritism, built relationships with her students and parents and displayed a love of teaching.

Frierson believes that students should be an active part in the learning process – which includes hands-on learning and minds-on learning. Each day, she implements this concept into her classroom by using the “chunk and chew” method which gives students direct instruction for a period of time followed by an opportunity to do that instruction through an activity. An Old Chinese Proverb states, “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.” It is this adage which sums up Frierson’s approach to education.

Monica Washington, TISD Secondary Teacher of the Year, is an AP and enriched English III teacher at Texas High School who has been in the field of education for 15 years and with the Tiger Family since 2007. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from LeMoyne-Owen College and a Master’s degree in English from University of Memphis.

Washington was told by many not to teach. However, what they didn’t know, was that far too many people and far too many circumstances had already put her on the path of becoming a teacher. There was nothing she could do about it.

She believes that some people are born with the desire to teach in their DNA. When she was young, Washington taught teddy bears in her room and later tortured friends in the neighborhood with lessons on the porch. Encouragement to learn and teach came from her mother and many other teachers along the way.

Her philosophy is “teach until the taught become teachers.” Not that they all go in the teaching field but that the student can, in turn, teach the concepts they were taught to others.

She shares that her most significant contributions and accomplishments in education are probably things that will never make it to her resume. Washington feels accomplished when she has helped a student to recognize how talented and intelligent they are, when they recognize their own power and when they realize that college is attainable and that he or she should be there.

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