Grapevine-Colleyville ISD 2022-23 Teachers of the Year Win Region 11 Essay Awards
Posted on 08/12/2022
Teachers of the Year with AwardsChristina Hayes, GCISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Josh Smith, GCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year, were named “best of” essay award winners at Region 11’s Teacher of the Year Banquet on Tuesday, August 2.

Hayes is a fifth-grade ASPIRE Academy teacher at Glenhope Elementary. In her essay about “Connecting Students to the Community,” she shared that she likes to bring in experts and provide real world experiences so students can see meaning in what they are learning.

For example, while learning about the water cycle and weather her students connected via Skype with a local news station meteorologist. While studying erosion, they partnered with a local parks and recreation expert and were invited to an area lake to study soil conditions. Students also write blogs about their learning, which they share with fellow students around the world and with their families.

“I want parents to feel connected to our school and district and I want students to see that we value their education and are working together to ensure they are successful,” Hayes said.

Smith, head band director at Heritage Middle School, won in the “Growing through Advocacy” essay category. His essay tells the story of how volunteering for a teacher leader role on a committee—even when swamped with a mountain of work—helped him grow and positively impact students.

“I was faced with a decision: remain quiet, or to throw my hat over the fence and commit to making this committee a great one for the benefit of my school,” he said.

Smith chose to dig in to help lead his school in starting the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) committee that was tasked with creating systems and procedures that would allow the campus to be successful. He sought the opinions of teachers, students and administrators; read books; and with fellow committee members implemented student-led changes that resulted in a great school environment.

“I learned that with leadership comes great responsibility,” Smith said. “I was terrified, but committed to doing what it takes to be great.”

Hayes and Smith were honored at the special event by Region 11 to honor district teachers of the year from across the region.