Saturday, May 25, 2024

Teachers at Guyer, Blanton named Denton ISD’s Teachers of the Year

Denton ISD recognized the 2023 Jostens Teachers of the Year with a parade on April 20, celebrating each campus winner and the district-wide elementary and secondary teachers of the year, both of whom teach at schools near and serving Lantana.

Denton ISD’s 2023 Elementary Teacher of the Year is Raquel Orozco, a special education/behavioral support teacher at Blanton Elementary (photo courtesy of Denton ISD).

Denton ISD’s 2023 Elementary Teacher of the Year is Raquel Orozco, a special education/behavioral support teacher at Blanton Elementary, was selected from a pool of 25 elementary campus nominees.

Orozco has spent the last nine years at Blanton Elementary, and before becoming a teacher, she worked for the Denton County Juvenile Probation Department for 13 years, during which she realized she wanted to have the ability to positively change a child’s course. Over the last 15 years in Denton ISD, Ms. Orozco has done just that, said a Denton ISD news release.

While Orozco acknowledges that her path to becoming an educator is different than most, her goal remains the same – help students become citizens who have positive impacts on their communities.

“I came to education in a different path, and I think this shows others who may be looking at education but have a different career that they can make that jump and make a difference in a child’s life,” Orozco said. “I think that’s important. I teach a diverse population of children with different behavior struggles, and I think when you see that lightbulb go off in their head, it brightens the whole room. That’s probably what brings me the most joy.”

Denton ISD’s 2023 Secondary Teacher of the Year is Stephanie Riley, who has been a 12th grade AP Environmental Science teacher at Guyer High School since 2015, and she has been a science teacher at Guyer for the past 15 years. For Riley, her objective is not just to teach her students the material for their AP exam – it is to also pique each students’ curiosity and challenge them in their learning, according to the district news release.

As a 12th grade high school teacher, Riley sees this as possibly the last opportunity to spur a students’ desire to understand the world around them. Riley’s students have said they loved coming to her class because they never knew what to expect – and it is those comments that motivate her to continually create memorable experiences for them.

“I’m just so lucky and grateful to be a part of a district that celebrates us as teachers,” Riley said. “At least on my end, I get to do something that doesn’t feel like a job. It’s just so fun to do. To be rewarded is just exciting to be a part of.”

Each Denton ISD Elementary and secondary school nominated one educator for Teacher of the Year. Members of the district’s Teachers Communication Committee reviewed the applications of the campus winners and selected one elementary and one secondary teacher to advance to the Region XI Teacher of the Year Competition.

District-winning elementary and secondary teachers of the year are awarded a $1,000 check from James Wood AutoPark and a $500 check from the Denton Public Schools Foundation.

Local memorabilia manufacturer Jostens was the title sponsor for this year’s Teacher of the Year event. Other local business contributors who provided gifts for the event included Liberty Mutual, AAA, DATCU, Premier Best Western, CoServ, Denton County Area 911, Community Med Care, Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant, The Horse’s Axe, Peterbilt, Tommy’s Express Car Wash, Texas Health, James Wood AutoPark, Total Care, HTeaO, Connections Wellness Group and the Education Retirement Program of Texas.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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