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LD Campuses Name 2017 Teachers of the Year

TOY

Lake Dallas ISD is proud to announce the 2017 campus Teachers of the Year.  Each year, LDISD campuses name a Teacher of the Year and then a district committee selects the District Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year to be announced later and represent the district at the regional level.

Cymica Gallahan, Corinth Elementary

“Ms. Gallahan seeks innovative and creative strategies to grow and inspire her students on a daily basis,” Mr. Randall Caldwell, CE Principal said. “Simply walking into her room makes you wish that you were back in 4th grade and could experience the atmosphere of learning and culture of love that envelopes each of her students. She empowers her students and encourages our entire staff at Corinth Elementary to be lifelong learners.”

Deborah Zertuche, Lake Dallas Elementary

“Ms. Zertuche is the perfect introduction to early education for our Pre-K students,” Dr. Jennifer Perry, LDE Principal said. “She is exceptionally skilled at working with young children and gets them headed in the right direction for a lifetime of learning.  Her students and their families adore her gentle and kind spirit.  She is a "gem" and Lake Dallas Elementary is proud to have her as part of the Falcon Family.”

Dawn Grey, Shady Shores Elementary

“Ms. Grey is well deserving of this title – she has been a part of our Falcon Family for 10 years,” Mrs. Vangee Deussen, SSE Principal said. “She is a team player in many ways; from doing whatever it takes to include every student, to embracing new technology as fast as it changes and sharing her skills with colleagues. Her love for her students and their being proficient and prepared is only a small part of what she does well.“

Casey Harl, Lake Dallas Middle School

“If there ever was a person who has found their calling in life, it has to be Casey Harl. I don’t think that I have ever seen a person who loves what they do more than Casey,” Mr. James Parker, LDMS Principal said. “He entered the business world and was very successful in a management position but knew something was missing in his life. Teaching found Casey and I don’t believe that he could be more richly blessed. Mr. Harl is undoubtedly what is right about public education and Lake Dallas Middle School is proud to have him represent us, as the 2017-18 campus teacher of the year!”

Kelli Whiteside, Lake Dallas High School

“If there is anyone who truly must bleed green, it is Kelli Whiteside.  She is a hometown girl who married her Lake Dallas High School sweetheart and raised her sons in our school system,” Dr. Kristi Strickland, LDHS Principal said. “Her most notable characteristic is that she is always smiling and undeniably happy.  She is dedicated to her craft of teaching English, and she is forever faithful to her Falcon Family.  Lake Dallas High School is proud to have Kelli Whiteside stand at the forefront as a representative for all who have dedicated their lives to public education and hold our values in their hearts.”

Meet each of these LDISD campus Teachers of the Year in the TOY Q & A  . . .

CG TOY Q & A – Cymica Gallahan, CE

# of years at LDISD:

10 years as of January 2017- WOO-hoooooo

Positions held at LDISD:

3rd grade teacher
4th grade teacher
Mentor teacher
Master teacher
JV cheer coach @ LDHS 2008 - 2013
JV soccer coach @ LDHS 2009-2014
LD Alumni- 13 year senior- graduated in 2001

Degrees/Colleges/Certifications:

Bachelors of Science from Texas Woman's University

Certifications:  EC-4 ESL, Sped ED

Favorite thing about being a teacher . . .

My favorite thing about being a teacher is teaching my students something new every day and making a difference in their lives. 

Favorite thing about LDISD . . .

Being a part of something bigger than yourself and growing up here I feel right at home.  It truly is a Falcon Family. 

About receiving LD Campus Teacher of the Year . . .

I am so humbled and honored.  It is so nice to know hard work does not go unnoticed.  I keep thinking of my past students and teachers that have mentored me along the way and I'm so appreciative of their knowledge and experiences that was bestowed upon me.  

DZ TOY Q & A – Deborah Zertuche, LDE

# of years at LDISD:  8

Positions held at LDISD:

PPCD 3 years(SSE), Kindergarten 1 year(SSE), 4 years Bilingual PK (LDE)

Degrees/Colleges/Certifications:

Interdisciplinary Studies from TWU/ Certified EC-4/ Special Education and Bilingual Education

Favorite thing about being a teacher . . .

Watching my students grow/progress throughout the year.

Favorite thing about LDISD . . .

LD tries very hard to meet the needs of all students and staff. They are very supportive of our community and our staff.

About receiving LD Campus Teacher of the Year . . .

I am still without words when it comes to being TOY. This is an honor that I never have thought I would receive. There are so many excellent educators I work with who are very deserving of such awards. I feel like none of us could excel in the manner we do without working together for the good of our students/campus/district. I am very happy here in Lake Dallas and I am thankful for the opportunities I have as a result of working in this environment.

 

DG TOY Q & A – Dawn Grey, SSE

# of years at LDISD:

I have been with Lake Dallas ISD for 11 years.

Positions held at LDISD:

I have taught 1st and 2nd grade at Shady Shores Elementary while working for the district.

Degrees/Colleges/Certifications:

M.Ed. –Education Technology Leadership, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX (in progress, I will be graduating in August)

BS –Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, TX, 2001

Teacher Certification -1-8 specialization history, Texas

ESL Education – 1-8 endorsement, Texas

Favorite thing about being a teacher . . .

Teaching is my passion! There are many things that make being a teacher an amazing experience. The main, and my favorite, reason for being a teacher is that I get to work with such amazing and wonderful students every day. I love watching the “light bulb” moments happen for my students; such as when they finally understand a concept or have developed a love for reading. My heart fills to the brim with pride as I watch a struggling student’s self-esteem begin to grow because the child has begun to feel successful. To be able to build a student’s confidence and instill a love of learning is an amazing experience.

Favorite thing about LDISD . . .

I love my district!! Lake Dallas is a district where the whole teacher is cultivated and appreciated. I love that Lake Dallas ISD has a small, close-knit family culture throughout the district and with the community. The family atmosphere is what drew me in over 11 years ago and has continued to support me through my growth as an educator and a person.

About receiving LD Campus Teacher of the Year . . .

I have the honor of working amongst and with some of the best educators in public education, so to be chosen as teacher of the year for my campus is an extremely humbling experience.  As a teacher, the efforts we make are not so that we can receive a reward, but for the betterment of our students. To be acknowledge for those efforts truly fills my heart. This recognition has given me a sense of responsibility to be the best representative of our profession in the community and beyond.

CH TOY Q & A - Casey Harl - LDMS

# of years at LDISD:

I am in my 11th year here at LDMS.

Positions held at LDISD:

I have taught 8th grade math, Algebra, and recently I have also been teaching a Pre-AP Algebra/Geometry course at the middle school.

Degrees/Colleges/Certifications:

Bachelors of Science - Computer Science - 1991 from Texas A&M
 - Minor in Mathematics

Masters Degree in Secondary Education from UNT
 
Certification - 8-12 Math 
 
Favorite thing about being a teacher . . .

Having the opportunity to interact with the kids and make a difference in their lives.  

Favorite thing about LDISD . . .

I live in Lewisville, so I could have my children in Lewisville ISD.  I have had them in LDISD since I started here because I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of education they have received in what is essentially a small town environment.  I grew up in a rural county, and I understand the advantages of being in a small school.  LDISD has provided that family type of environment for me and my own children for the past 11 years.

About receiving LD Campus Teacher of the Year . . .

I don't know yet!  It's still too new, I guess.  I never thought I would receive it because there are simply too many others that deserve it.  I am honored and humbled.  It is a blessing to work for LDISD and a blessing to even be considered for this award, much less win it.  I won't quit striving for improvement or working to help students accomplish more than they ever thought possible! 

KW TOY Q & A – Kelli Whiteside, LDHS

# of years at LDISD:  13​

Positions held at LDISD:

English ​III teacher 13 years, English department chair 12 years

Degrees/Colleges/Certifications:

B.S.-Secondary Physical Education, English minor, also certified in ESL​

Favorite thing about being a teacher . . .

While I love the day-to-day interaction with my students, my true joy comes from seeing students succeeding in life beyond high school.  After all, that really is what it's all about. 

Favorite thing about LDISD . . .

As an alum of LDHS, it is wonderful to see that, while some traditions remain and others evolve, the small town 'Falcon Family' atmosphere has survived. 

About receiving LD Campus Teacher of the Year . . .

I am excited, proud, and humbled. Our campus is packed with gifted educators who perform miracles every day. I hope I can represent them and my alma mater well.

 

 



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