Five exceptional educators honored

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The Sam Houston State University College of Education honored five educators for outstanding service in the field of education earlier this month at the Fourth Annual Distinguished Educator of the Year Awards. The ceremony recognizes significant contributions in six fields of recognition: distinguished administrator, distinguished elementary teacher, distinguished secondary teacher, distinguished support professional and friend of education.

Distinguished Administrator: Dr. Jamie Bryson, director of financial services for Aldine ISD, has contributed over 18 years of service to education through programs such as Title I, Head Start, elementary and intermediate mathematics, in addition to serving as a teacher. She has won the Extra-Miler Award five times, Thompson Elementary Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for Aldine ISD’s district teacher of the year awards. Bryson has been the author and recipient of over $3 million in competitive grants for Aldine ISD. She graduated from SHSU in 1996 with a master’s of education and in 2003 with a doctorate in education.

Distinguished Elementary Teacher: Shannon Kirby, a science teacher for Columbia-Brazoria ISD, taught High School and Jr. High science before moving to fifth-grade science. In 2000, Kirby won Teacher of the Year for Freeport Intermediate School and was nominated for HEB’s Teacher of the Year in 2006. Kirby graduated from SHSU with a Bachelor of Science in 1994.

Distinguished Secondary Teacher: Diana McGee was recognized for her contribution to education through mathematics. McGee, currently a sixth-grade math teacher, received honors in 1998 and 2000 Burleson Intermediate School as teacher of the year; in 2003 was Burleson Chamber Student’s Choice Teacher of the Year; in 2005 was Burleson ISD’s Middle School Teacher of the Year; and in 2006 was nominated for National Disney Teacher of the Year Award. McGee graduated from SHSU in 1979 with a

Distinguished Support Professional: A second Aldine ISD recipient, librarian Dixie Allen, received her Bachelor of Arts in Teaching and Master in Library Science from SHSU. As a librarian, Allen has been recognized by Johnson Elementary and Harris Academy as Educator of the Year. Allen has 15 years of education service.

Friend of Education: Dr. Claudine Simpson received recognition for her outstanding service as a pediatric teacher at the University of Texas M.D Anderson Cancer Center. Simpson graduated from SHSU with a master’s in education professional mid-management before earning her doctorate from Texas A&M University in curriculum and instruction. She is the recipient of M.D Anderson Cancer Center’s Awesome Job Award and was on the list of Who’s Who Among American College Students.

Sherry Hirsch, director of events for the College of Education said choosing the recipients is often an overwhelming task. Honorees are selected based upon their professional experience and history, philosophy of education and community involvement. An award committee consisting of members of each department from the college selected this year’s recipients from a pool of approximately 150 applicants located throughout Texas. Once selected, Hirsch and Bob Garrett, the College of Education’s technology technician, interview the students and co-workers of each winner.

“Their special gifts and talents, their enthusiasm and love for what they do, and the extra work that they choose to put toward their students betterment,” Hirsch said, “are all characteristics that the recipients embody. This is proven by the statements their fellow faculty and staff members make in their nominations.”

Over 200 people attended the March 1, semi-formal ceremony. The awards are held annually. Applications can be submitted by anyone wishing to honor an educator and will be available for next year’s awards online. For more information, please contact the College of Education.