Karen Morman and Stephanie Stoebe both wanted a career path that would change lives for the better, give children hope and truly make a difference in the world. That’s why they became teachers. On October 14, 2011, they received the state’s top teaching award for their outstanding performance.
Stoebe, a reading teacher at Round Rock High School in Round Rock ISD was named 2012 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Morman, a reading specialist at J.W. Webb Elementary in McKinney ISD, was named the 2012 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Morman was chosen to represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Morman and Stoebe learned of their awards during a luncheon in Austin at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Each received a $5,000 cash award.
Also honored were four additional state finalists, who each received a $1,500 award, and 34 Regional Teachers of the Year, who received a $500 award.
Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton, an academic coordinator at North Dallas High School in Dallas ISD, chaired the selection committee and called the duty one of the great joys of his time on the board. He said all of the candidates were outstanding and the committee’s decision was a difficult one.
“Listening to the finalists made be very proud to be an educator myself. Their remarks inspired me to inspire others to enter the teaching profession,” Clayton said. “I extend my warmest congratulations to them. They are true examples of what a professional educator should be.
In her application, Morman wrote: “As I glance at the myriad of student notes that mark my journey as a teacher, it reinforces my belief that teachers are the most important factor to success in the classroom. One student’s note pulls at my heartstrings when she shares that reading has been difficult for her in the past, and thanks me for helping her enjoy reading. It is a teacher’s positive attitudes, high expectations, and the joy for learning that is modeled in the classroom that will make the difference in students’ lives.”
Stoebe said in her application that she worked for the regional probation department in Texas and her job was to help her clients earn their high school diploma or GED. But she knew she could make a real difference if she were a teacher and could reach them when they were young. “My most significant contributions to education will be that I gave hope to children when they had none. I gave direction to students who were lost, both emotionally and academically. I taught kids to read; first the words, then the sentences, and then finally, they understood that education is the great equalizer in society today.