Correctional Educators Honored for Excellence in Teaching
Windham School District (WSD) is proud to announce Cheri Barlow as the 2021 District Teacher of the Year and recipient of the Lane Murray Excellence in Teaching Award. The two finalists of the award, Teresa Cairo and Ronnie Tanner, were named Academic Teacher of the Year and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year, respectively. Named after WSD's first superintendent, as well as the first female superintendent in Texas, the Lane Murray Excellence in Teaching Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a WSD teacher.
These exemplary educators were selected due to their outstanding dedication and service to teaching incarcerated individuals within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) the necessary academic, CTE and life skills needed to succeed in their communities upon release.
"The dedicated teachers who serve inside TDCJ are instrumental in providing students the skills needed to gain employment, provide for their families and succeed upon reentry into our Texas communities," Windham School District Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick J. O'Daniel said.
Cheri Barlow, Teacher of the YearBarlow, a life skills teacher at the Connally Campus in the Gulf Coast Region, was named the District Teacher of the Year and the Life Skills Teacher of the Year because her unique teaching methods keeps her students connected, engaged and actively learning in her classroom. From monthly themes, creative lesson plans and hands-on projects, she is dedicated to keeping her students excited, engaged and actively learning in her classroom from "bell to bell."
"Ms. Barlow embodies Windham's mission to provide quality education by inspiring her students to succeed through creative teaching models and motivating her students to prioritize their education to support success upon release," Windham School District Superintendent Kristina J. Hartman said.
Cairo, an academic teacher at the Dominguez Campus in the Alamo Star Region, was named the Academic Teacher of the Year. Her teaching model, designed to accommodate diverse learning styles in the classroom, helps her students achieve higher retention levels. To make the lessons more meaningful, Cairo connects the students to the content by relating it to their personal lives.
"Ms. Cairo is a model academic teacher as she works diligently to meet the individual needs of her students, ensuring their success," Hartman said.
Ronnie Tanner, CTE Teacher of the YearTanner, an automotive teacher at the Boyd Campus in the North Texas region, was named CTE Teacher of the Year. Tanner brings more than 30 years of experience to the classroom to share with his students. He encourages his students to learn as much as possible about the automotive industry and ensures his students are always up-to-date on current trends, issues and techniques such as electric vehicles or self-driving cars.
"Mr. Tanner elevates Windham's automotive program by using his knowledge gained from his long career in the automotive industry to teach his students the necessary skills to gain employment upon release," Hartman said.
The Windham School District Teacher of the Year is selected through a multi-tier nomination and interview process.
ABOUT WINDHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT
Windham School District (WSD) provides academic, Career and Technical Education, and life skills programs to eligible individuals within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). We serve a unique population of incarcerated individuals who were unable to complete their basic education in the past and others who need technical training and soft skills to better equip them for the future. With 86 campuses located in TDCJ facilities across Texas, WSD strives to prepare students with the necessary education and skills to successfully reenter the workforce within their communities.