By Jackie Stone
Killeen Daily Herald
Many of the 10 teachers who were honored Thursday night were given similar descriptions by those who work with them.
They use creative classroom techniques. They are skilled and innovative. They actively pursue professional development. They mentor and train other teachers as well as students.
The accolades were read from nomination forms that led to each teacher receiving an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Killeen Daily Herald. The Herald and the Newspapers in Education program has been handing out the honors for 24 years.
The winners received their glass awards at a presentation Thursday night at the Harker Heights Activities Center.
"This event is so special, because we want to honor you who make a difference in students' lives," said Alex Acworth, the Herald's NIE coordinator.
Acworth and the Killeen library services director, Deanna Frazee, pored through the forms of nominees and scored them based on five criteria including communication skills, excellence in mentoring, encouragement and continuing education.
The four winners from Killeen Independent School District were Sue Beaumont; Susan Lewis; Tracie Young; and Jennifer Tulloh.
The four winners from Copperas Cove Independent School District were Donna Brewer; Karen Harris; Jacqueline Ritz; and Kristie Jackson.
Florence Independent School District had one winner, Laura Ornelas. Lampasas Independent School District was included in the awards for the first time this year, fielding winner Janet Machen.
After the presentation, CCISD Superintendent Rose Cameron said she thinks any accolades teachers get are positive for the community.
"Every one of these teachers is deserving of being recognized, and being recognized in a public setting is just great," she said.
Tulloh, who teaches at Sugar Loaf Elementary School in KISD, was busy taking pictures with her three brothers and her award after the ceremony.
Tulloh's mother, Rose Childers, said she was proud to see her daughter win the award, and that two of her sons are thinking of following in their sister's footsteps.
Lance Cpl. Justin Childers, 21, is a Marine reservist while he's in school, but he visits his sister's classroom often.
"They keep saying she knows what she's doing, and I gotta check up," he said.
In seriousness, Childers said he thinks his sister deserved the honor.
"Out of all the kids I've talked to, they say she's the best teacher they've ever had," he said.