Arturo Salazar Elementary
Courtney Castillo is a third and fourth grade RLA teacher at Arturo Salazar Elementary School. Her journey into the world of education began in Dallas, Texas as a 3rd grade teacher. Through the Tech Teach Across Texas Program, Courtney earned a teaching license in elementary education with a focus in ESL and is currently working on finishing her Masters in Personalized Learning Instruction through Texas Tech University. During her time as a teacher, Courtney has worked with struggling readers and has been able to help close reading gaps and get her students on grade level reading
Sam Tasby Middle School
Lathasia Collins is a seventh grade ELAR lead teacher at Sam Tasby Middle School. She began her teaching career as an elementary Spanish teacher in Houston, Texas where she also served students through reading intervention. After two years, she served as a Behavior Interventionist at multiple schools throughout Houston. She returned to the classroom as a sixth grade ELAR teacher and served students in afterschool programs that embraced diversity, equity, and inclusion through dance, and inspirational devotional morning gatherings. She currently serves as a mentor teacher to new teachers to the district and works with students outside of the classroom through international dance classes, parent academic partnering sessions, and home visits.
Felix G. Botello Elementary
Yocely Davila is a Kindergarten dual language teacher at Felix G. Botello Personalized Learning Elementary School. She is a Dallas ISD graduate and has been a Kindergarten teacher for four years teaching in the neighborhood she grew up in. Yocely completed a rigorous one-year program and earned her B.A. in Education from Texas Tech University in 2019. In 2022, she earned a graduate certificate with an emphasis in Personalized Learning. Although she is in the beginning of her career, Yocely has been able to support her students to achieve tremendous growth.
Leila P. Cowart Elementary
Lesley Guerra is a bilingual first grade teacher at Leila P. Cowart. She graduated from the University of North Texas at Dallas where she earned a B.S in Interdisciplinary Studies. While attending college she worked for the school of education as a recruiter. It was during this time that she realized the great need for teachers, which fueled her desire to become a teacher and encourage other DISD students to pursue the field of education as well. Throughout this journey, Lesley was able to complete her student teaching at L.P Cowart where she is now a teacher. She is currently in her fourth year of teaching and has taught first and second grade. As a product of DISD herself, Lesley enjoys teaching in the community that she grew up in. She loves inspiring students and hopes to continue creating opportunities for students to experience learning in innovative ways.
Biomedical Preparatory at UT Southwestern
Katie Holt is a 1st grade self-contained teacher at Biomedical Preparatory at UT Southwestern. She is in her 9th year of teaching and has taught exclusively in Dallas ISD. She has taught in West Dallas, Oak Cliff and is now a founding teacher at the nation’s first-ever biomedical elementary school. She has experience in both lower and upper elementary and is passionate about literacy in early education classrooms. Katie was a teacher of the year finalist for Dallas ISD and has dedicated her life to ensuring that the students in her classroom receive the education that they deserve.
Felix G. Botello Elementary School
Leydi Jimenez is a graduate of Texas Woman's University, she graduated in fall of 2015. She is currently a 1st grade self-contained teacher at Felix G Botello Personalized Learning Elementary School. This is her 6th year teaching. Leydi began her career in a 4th grade math classroom, however soon after she realized she wanted to work with a younger age group requesting to go down to 2nd grade. She taught 2nd grade math and science for 3 years, afterwards she went down to 1st grade self-contained.
Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary STEAM Academy
Tishunna Jones is a fifth year, first grade teacher at Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary STEAM Academy. She received her Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University and Masters degree in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas at Dallas. During her time at Marsalis, Tishunna has served as coach of the K-2 Destination Imagination Team, Co-sponsor of Student Council and currently serves as the grade level chair for the first grade team.
Sylvia Mendez CREW Leadership Academy
Claudia Loabto is a second grade bilingual reading and social studies teacher at Sylvia Mendez CREW Leadership Academy in Pleasant Grove. Her love and passion for learning and teaching began at an early age although her life journey was not linear to achieve her goal; she gained background knowledge and skills in hospitality, restaurant management and event planning. She holds a B.A. in Education from Texas Tech University and is determined to continue her education journey in the near future. In her two years of teaching, Claudia has grown as an educator by keeping an open mind and using feedback to reflect on her teaching practices. She has a tremendous passion for her culture, bilingual education, and student agency which has driven her to instill this into her own students and the Pleasant Grove community.
Biomedical Preparatory at UT Southwestern
Jennifer Mayen is currently a Pre-K4 teacher at the Biomedical Preparatory at UT Southwestern. She attended the University of North Texas at Dallas, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies and bilingual education. As a product of DISD, she wanted to return to the district as a teacher to serve her community. She is currently in her third year of teaching with the district. During this time, she has served as a bilingual teacher in second grade, fifth grade and Pre-K.
Robin Montemayor is a fourth grade teacher at Mockingbird Elementary School. She earned her B.S. in Education and B.A. in English at SMU. She earned her teaching certification in early childhood to 6th grade education alongside her ESL certification. She continued pursuing her education at SMU and was selected as a member of the Hunt Scholarship program receiving her M.Ed. in Education. Robin has been teaching in DISD for 3 years and currently serves as her grade level lead. She also serves as her campus’s TEI Expert and Campus Activities Coordinator. This, coupled with being a leader of three campus clubs, has allowed her to build strong relationships with staff and students throughout her whole school. She has had great success in her classroom including having the educational director share lesson plans to the feeder pattern.
Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary
Sheila Morales is a Spanish teacher. She has been teaching for 28 years, 3 of which she spent at Charmaine & Robert Price Career Institute. During this time, she has served as a Spanish I, II and Heritage classroom teacher, as well as Mentor of the Newcomers and Emergent Bilingual Mentorship Program. She also received a TEA Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) state designation as a Recognized Teacher in the 2022-2023 school year. Sheila earned an Ed.D in curriculum and teaching and two master's degrees. Her thesis: "El uso del translenguar como estrategia pedagogica en al enseñanza del español como segundo idioma en un sistema escolar de Texas'' is in the University of Texas at Dallas as well as in the African, Latin American and Western European Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C
School of Science and Engineering Magnet at Townview
Shannon Nelson is in her eleventh year teaching high school social studies. She holds a B.A. degree in History and a minor in Education from Southern Methodist University. She is currently teaching Advanced Placement U.S. History and Advanced Placement Research in the School of Science and Engineering at the Dallas Independent School District. During her tenure, Shannon has served as department head where she streamlined instruction and increased teacher collaboration through the implementation of a school-wide peer observation system that has created lasting impact on school culture and student performance. She has a passion for fostering authentic student discussions and creating environments for students to develop well-rounded, informed perspectives of history. Shannon is a continuous learner, always looking for new opportunities to grow and that push her to question how and why she does things as a teacher.
Career Institute South
Mr. Leonardo Painevilo empowers and loves all the high school students he serves daily atCareer Institute North. He is passionate about technology and is currently teaching computer science and cybersecurity. Mr. Painevilo is from Patagonia, Argentina and got his Bachelor of Arts in Management and Information Technology in South Korea. In 2016, he joined Dallas ISD. Mr. Painevilo also collaborates with different organizations such as the Project Management Instituteand serves as the Vice-President for the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA Dallas).
Leila P. Cowart Elementary
Laura Paredes is currently a fourth grade reading teacher at Leila P. Cowart. She has been teaching for 7 years, 6 of which she has spent at Cowart. During this time, she has served as a kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade classroom teacher. She is a member of both the Personalized Learning and Leadership teams. As a member of the PL team, she is immersed in the process of innovation at her school. She facilitates professional development opportunities and mentors other teachers in the application of Blended Learning models. Laura has been selected as the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year of her campus. She holds a M.S. in secondary education and a B.A. from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in English Language and Literature.
Brooke Peterson is a 2nd grade math and science teacher at Mockingbird Elementary. Her journey into the world of education began at Southern Methodist University where she earned her B.A. in Education and B.S. in Psychology. She went on to earn her Masters in Education and ESL certification at SMU while student teaching for a year at Mockingbird and volunteering at an after school program for low-income families. This is now her 4th year at Mockingbird and she has taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade.
Sarah Rose is currently a third grade math and science teacher at Mockingbird Elementary in Dallas, TX. She has taught between third and sixth grade, focusing primarily on mathematics, for the past 20 years. Sarah obtained her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before acquiring her teaching certificate via the Dallas ISD Alternative Certification program. She has been awarded campus teacher of the year twice and is identified as a Distinguished Teacher by Dallas ISD. Sarah loves to incorporate technology into her classroom and enjoys writing many of the materials used in her everyday instruction.
Thomas L. Marsalis STEAM Elementary
Cesily Sellers is in her sixth year of teaching and is currently a first-grade teacher at Thomas L. Marsalis STEAM Elementary. She earned an A.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from Eastfield Community College, a B.A. and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of North Texas at Dallas. Ms. Sellers has experience teaching first through third grade. She began her career in 2015 as a Pre-K teacher assistant at Rufus C. Burleson Elementary and became a teacher at the campus in 2017. She is currently pursuing a STEM certification, is leading the first cohort for Out Teach Texas on her campus, is the first- grade STEAM lead, and is the Robotics Lego League Explore coach.
CityLab High School
Daniel Sharp is an eleventh and twelfth-grade social studies teacher at CityLab HighSchool. He teaches Advanced Placement Government and Macroeconomics, OnRamps U.S. History, and on-level U.S. History courses. He is currently in his tenth year of teaching. During this time, he has served as a team lead, social studies department head, and instructional lead teacher. He is earning an M.A. in History with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History through Gettysburg College. He holds a B.A. in history and minors in Spanish and Anthropology from the University of North Texas. During his career, he has worked at Title I campuses, where he served as a cross-examination debate coach and still serves as a Mock Trial coach.
Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School
Shanthi Shyamsunder is a dedicated and experienced educator currently teaching sixth grade science at Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School. After a successful tenure in the corporate world, she made the decision to transition into education, beginning with a position as an English and History teacher at an International School in Chennai, India. Then, she took on a role as faculty at the “Academy for Personalized Learning Global School” before moving to Qatar to teach using the Cambridge Curriculum and prepare students for the college entrance exam, SAT through Sylvan Learning. Upon moving to the United States, she volunteered as a Reading Intervention Specialist at Richland College and taught adult learners through Literacy Achieves. She holds a Masters in English, B.S in chemistry, and Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers and earned a teaching license in Science and ESL.
Sylvia Mendez CREW Leadership Academy
Jessica Torres is in her third year of teaching and is currently a second-grade math and science bilingual teacher at Sylvia Mendez CREW Leadership Academy in Pleasant Grove. She grew up in Dallas, Texas and is a product of Dallas ISD. She graduated high school and started as a teachers assistant working with students with special needs in a functional living skills classroom. Through this experience, her love and passion for learning and teaching grew more. She then graduated from Eastfield College with her Associates degree and then earned her Bachelor's degree through Texas Tech’s 2+1 TechTeach Program. Her experience as a student teacher at a personalized learning school has helped her meet her students' needs in a more differentiated way. Outside of teaching, she enjoys a good book with a cup of coffee, spending time with her family and taking long walks with her dog!
Mocking Elementary School
Anali Vidaña is a Kindergarten Dual Language teacher at Mockingbird Elementary School. She earned her bachelor's degree in education at Texas Woman's University. Anali has been teaching and serving the community at Mockingbird Elementary for 7 years and is designated a recognized teacher by TEA. Her favorite people call her maestra Vidaña. She currently serves as LPAC chair and leads the committee when they make decisions about emergent bilinguals. Anali also serves in the Garden Committee and just completed her Master Gardener certification in January 2023. She is also part of the Cultural Leadership Team on her campus.
Frank Guzick Elementary
Maria Villarruel is in her 7th year of teaching and is currently a third-grade bilingual math teacher at Frank Guzick Elementary. Her journey into the world of education began as a high school intern in Dallas ISD at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. She is a proud alumna of the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, where she double majored in Psychology and Child Learning and Development with teaching certification in EC-6.
Emmett J. Conrad High School
A 10th-grade English II teacher at Dr. Emmett J. Conrad High School, Mollie Wright is an educator with over a decade of experience. Her earliest forays into classroom teaching began during and after college when she served as a WorldTeach Volunteer ESL teacher in Costa Rica and a Peace Corps Volunteer ESL teacher on the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. After a brief stint in college counseling, Mollie taught high school English for six years in her native California before moving to Texas. She holds a B.A. in English from Harvard College and an Ed.M. in Language & Literacy Education from Boston University.