Correctional Educators Honored for Excellent Teaching
Windham School District (WSD) is proud to announce Martha Robinson as the 2022-2023 District Teacher of the Year and recipient of the Lane Murray Excellence in Teaching Award. The two finalists for the award, Alysia Fulton and Cecil Rodriguez, were named Academic Teacher of the Year and Life Skills 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).
Robinson, a culinary arts instructor at the Coffield Campus in Tennessee Colony, was named the District Teacher of the Year and the Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year because of her leadership skills and teaching style. When you step into Robinson's Introduction to Culinary Arts classroom, you are not walking into an ordinary classroom, but instead a restaurant she and her students named Culinary Delights. It is here Robinson serves her students culinary knowledge, delicious recipes and, most importantly, life lessons. Through her curriculum, students reflect and share their personal experiences with cooking, including cultural recipes, family memories and techniques. She highlights unique menus, discusses restaurant openings or closings and hosts bake offs to keep students engaged and learning.
"Ms. Robinson utilizes her creative teaching style to connect with students and empower them to transform their lives through education and the culinary arts," Windham School District Superintendent Kristina J. Hartman said. "Through this program, students gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the high-demand restaurant industry upon rejoining their communities."
Fulton, a special education teacher at the Roach Campus in Childress, was named the Academic Teacher of the Year. She leads her students firmly with clear expectations, patience, support and kindness. She does this by modeling appropriate behavior, making professional connections and creating lessons around the needs of her students. Fulton works to build a sense of community for her students and her coworkers. She brings in different community members to discuss life lessons and connects students to potential employers.
"Ms. Fulton's passion and dedication for education is evident throughout her distinguished career and reflected in her classroom and amongst her students," Hartman said.
Rodriguez, a life skills teacher at the Garza West Campus in Beeville, was named Life Skills Teacher of the Year. These courses are designed to help students change criminal-thinking patterns and develop soft skills essential for success in all areas of life. Rodriguez brings more than 20 years of teaching experience to the district. As a life skills teacher, Rodriguez creates active learning lessons to meet the need of all students. She uses group lessons that incorporate the level of each student to ensure all students are involved in the project.
"Ms. Rodriguez is a mentor to everyone she meets," Hartman said. "She is a gifted teacher who is consistent, firm and great at building rapport with her students."
The Windham School District Teacher of the Year and finalists are 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). The district serves 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.