Early College High School math teacher Jonathan “Marc” Jones is the Killeen ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year and Clifton Park Elementary School music teacher Shannon Gallinger is the Elementary Teacher of the Year. Killeen ISD named the top teachers and finalists for elementary and secondary levels for the current school year during a ceremony Tuesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Drawing out the suspense with touching video testimony and Hollywood spotlight entrances, Killeen ISD leaders revealed Tuesday this year’s district teachers of the year.

Clifton Park Elementary School music teacher Shannon Gallinger and Early College High School math teacher Jonathan “Marc” Jones received this year’s top honors.

“Very shocked and very humbled,” said Gallinger of her reaction after the ceremony.

Upon stepping to the stage to receive her award, the elementary teacher of the year watched as her principal, then some of her students and their parents praise her. They mentioned her commitment to take students into the public, including to a hospital to sing to soldier patients.

“Music has the power to bring people together,” she said, explaining her motivation to teach elementary music. “It’s a source of light, even one concert or one song.”

Jones said his heart was racing as he took the stage to accept the secondary teacher of the year award.

He reflected on a question that was part of the teacher of the year process to describe your most challenging student. Thinking about the question, he said, led him to realize that his students are not challenging, only the situations that many of them face.

Helping students to overcome obstacles, he said, helps to build relationships. “There is a champion in each of them,” he said.

Stepping into the spotlight and waving to the crowd while magnified on huge screens above, some of the very best Killeen Independent School District teacherswalked into the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to accept the honor of teacher of the year for each campus.

Each school selected its campus-level teacher of the year for the 2018-2019 school year and through application, interview and classroom observation, a community panel selected this year’s top teachers.

Elementary finalists include Andrea Dykes of Willow Springs, Abbygayle Brewington of Alice W. Douse, Frantz Gourgueof Hay Branch, Keri Reynolds of Montague Village, Ashlee Pittman of Skipcha and Tamara Ford ofMaxdale.

Secondary finalists include Abby Roberts of Ellison High School, Allison Shopbellof Liberty Hill Middle School, Aubry White of Manor Middle School andDonielle Thornton of Union Grove Middle School.

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