Cooperative Teachers Credit Union and Tyler ISD announced the 2018 Teachers of the Year at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet this evening at Crosswalk Conference Center. The District honored 30 campus teachers of the year before naming Yvonne Malmstrom, third grade math and science teacher at Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy, as District Elementary Teacher of the Year and Casey Graves, sixth grade English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) teacher at Hubbard Middle School, as District Secondary Teacher of the Year. Cooperative Teachers Credit Union was the lead sponsor for the celebratory event. The District winners will compete at the regional level this summer.
Yvonne Malmstrom is a graduate of Kilgore College and The University of Texas at Tyler, and has taught for nineteen years. She began her teaching career in Tyler ISD at Ramey Elementary School in 1998 before joining the Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy in 2002. Holding many leadership roles throughout her career, Ms. Malmstrom was most recently named as a Tyler ISD Expert Teacher for math and science.
The daughter of German immigrants, Ms. Malmstrom says her inspiration to become a teacher came during her eighth grade year when she began helping her mother study for her United States Citizenship test. She would create tests and quizzes and make up mnemonic devices, timelines and posters to help her mother remember events in history. She says it was a special moment when watching her mother raise her right hand and pledge to become a citizen of the United States. At that moment, she knew she wanted to touch the lives of others by empowering them to reach their dreams through education.
“Teaching is not just my profession, it is my calling,” Ms. Malmstrom said. “In a world that is often filled with uncertainty, I want to be the agent of change that empowers each child to shoot for the stars and reach their greatest potential. All of that can be achieved through the value my parents instilled in me – a great education.”
Casey Graves is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and has been a teacher for six years, all of which have been at Hubbard Middle School. Now serving as ELAR department head, Ms. Graves tells an inspiring story of overcoming challenges during her early years of teaching with a never give up attitude and the confidence to believe she could be a good teacher.
Ms. Graves was first inspired to teach by her sixth grade math teacher, Ms. Simmons, who always offered her a listening ear, advice about getting along with classmates, and even called her out when she “got a little mouthy in class,” Ms. Graves said. “I hated math, but I loved Ms. Simmons.” Although she did not realize it at the time, Ms. Simmons became an important voice to Ms. Graves.
“I thought of Ms. Simmons as I struggled through my first year of teaching,” Ms. Graves said. “At times I thought I might drown in curriculum documents, office referrals, IEP’s, emails, trainings, lesson planning and grading but it was sink or swim, and I swam. I knew I was meant to be a teacher.”
Thirty teachers were selected as Campus Teachers of the Year. Criteria for selection of both Campus and District Teachers of the Year included, among other items: playing an active and purposeful role in their community and commitment to the teaching profession through continuous improvement and lessons that creatively engage and inspire students to achieve high academic standards.
The District also presented the Rookie of the Year award to recognize a teacher who demonstrates outstanding performance and superior instruction skills during their first year of teaching. The 2018 Rookie of the Year award was given to Jessilyn Taylor from Jones Elementary School.
“I’ve said this many times, but Tyler ISD has the best teachers and educators in East Texas and I am so proud of their dedication to making sure our students succeed both in and out of the classroom,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “It is always fun to honor the best of the best in a profession and we are certainly doing so tonight.”
More than 500 guests attended the banquet, including Tyler ISD staff, administrators, teachers, sponsors, and community members.
Additional sponsors for the event included Tab and Bonnie Beall, Purdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott, LLP, Tyler ISD Foundation and Chick-fil-A South Broadway.