AUSTIN - With 5.3 million students in the State of Texas, being named a Regional Teacher of the Year is a big accomplishment for any teacher. Moreover, in Austin on Friday, October 14, 2016, Sweetwater High School Science Teacher Kathy Witt was presented with the Regional Teacher of the Year Award representing all secondary teachers in the Big Country.
"This was an unexpected honor," said Witt. "Being nominated by my colleagues at SHS was fantastic, but when school administrators, parents, and central staff in our district gave me the thumbs up to represent our district, I was overwhelmed by their support and confidence. After all, it has always been about students."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott remarked that "education is the determining factor for continued success, greater prosperity, and a brighter future for Texas students and for this great state. It is imperative that students are encouraged to make the most of their educational opportunities." He continued by adding, "across the Lone Star State, educators inspire our children to achieve, helping them see that their opportunities are limitless and that with dedication and hard work they can change the world. I join my fellow Texans in saluting the role teachers play in the success of our children, who are our next generation of leaders and will one day be responsible for continuing Texas on its path as a leader for our nation."
In attendance with Mrs. Witt was her husband Jamie Witt, who is an engineer with Ludlum Measurements and a volunteer Robotics Sponsor at SHS. He said "I am very proud of Kathy because she works hard for our school and community. Our district has many teachers that are equally deserving of this award and Kathy always talks positively about other teachers and their impact on student learning, success, and achievement."
The Texas Teacher of the Year Awards Program was held at the Bullock Texas History Museum where Mrs. Witt received her award from the Texas Association of School Administrators President Kevin Brown and the Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. In his remarks Commissioner Morath said, "the person standing at the front of every classroom remains the most important part of our Texas public education system. Without the hard work and commitment of these dedicated individuals every school day, on the weekends, and in the summer months, the system we depend upon to prepare our children and our state for the future cannot succeed."
As Sweetwater High School works to become the premier high school in the Big Country, it will take strong and professional teachers to inspire students. Moreover, students need to find relevance in the curriculum and feel accepted as part of the learning community. The campus is in the process of certifying all academic teachers in strategies to support higher academic rigor, continuing to have all Freshmen and Sophomores participate in one or more extra-curricular activities, and allowing Seniors to have an opportunity to give back to the community through volunteer opportunities.