The Prosper Independent School District took time during its last board meeting to honor the excellence in teaching that exists within each campus by recognizing its teachers through the “Teacher of the Year” program. This program is aligned with the regional, state, and national “Teacher of the Year” programs. During the April Prosper ISD school board meeting, David Bill from Light Farms Elementary and Caitlin Kirk from Prosper High School were named district elementary and secondary teachers of the year. This year’s winners received $500 from PISD, $500 from Rotary Club, and access to drive a new car from the new Longo Toyota dealership in Prosper for one year. They will both move on to the Region 10 Teacher of the Year program.

Elementary Teacher of the Year from Light Farms Elementary

David Bill serves as a fourth grade math and science teacher for Light Farms Elementary.

“One of the first things students and peers notice about Mr. Bill are his laugh and smile,” a district press release said. “He never gets weighed down, but instead, he maintains a positive and upbeat spirit. Bill is a great teacher and is dedicated to all of his students, and he goes above and beyond for Light Farms and Prosper ISD. He is always willing to help and offer suggestions, and he participates in all events.”

One Light Farms parent said Bill has changed her child’s view on school completely. District officials said in a press release that Bill is a humble teacher who loves his students and is determined that each student will learn. His integrity and humility provides students and other teachers with a model to emulate, officials said.

Secondary Teacher of the Year from Prosper High School

Caitlin Kirk serves as a math teacher for Prosper High School. She teaches algebra 1, Pre-AP algebra 1, double blocked algebra 1, and accelerated algebra 2, and she also serves as the academic coordinator for UIL academics. Officials said in a press release Kirk has a unique way of personalizing every lesson in every class to every child, to ensure that all students demonstrate progress daily.

“She is positive, uplifting, and the consummate team player. She is innovative and collaborative, and her innovation and work ethic are admired by other teachers,” the press release said. “She is seen as a leader in the classroom and in the school. Ms. Kirk is a superstar, a diamond, an asset not just to Prosper High School or Prosper ISD, but to the education of all children and the growth in the field of teaching.”

Communications Specialist Christal Hankey said the teacher of the year are determined by each individual campus. One way is that teachers nominate who they believe should win this honor, and then the campus votes. Another way that some campuses choose their teacher of the year is to use all of the star polishers from the year as the nominees, and the staff votes.

Once the campus teachers of the year have been named, a district selection committee selects the district teachers of the year.

Below are Prosper Independent School District’s teachers of the year, as well a statement from the school district regarding each.

Baker Elementary

Kathy Feller serves as a special education teacher for Baker Elementary. Feller is admired for her positive attitude and her love for students. Her colleagues respect that she listens and truly collaborates. She treats everyone on her team equally and welcomes all ideas in how to serve Baker special educations best. She is truly a master at her craft and is always willing to help and collaborate. She challenges her students and has fostered an amazing amount of growth in each student in just the short amount of time she has been here. Ms. Feller is passionate, determined, and truly an advocate for her students.

Cockrell Elementary

Shannon English serves as a 4th grade social studies and English/language arts teacher for Cockrell Elementary. Ms. English is admired for her willingness to go above and beyond for all students. She embraces the co-teach model (general education and special education teachers co-teaching in the same classroom) without reservation because she believes that all kids make a difference. Ms. English is a teacher who always does what is right without the need for credit or affirmation. She will plan and prepare to meet all kids where they are no matter how difficult it may be at the moment. Supporter, planner, collaborator, differentiator, inspirer, energizer, professional, poised, articulate, positive, fabulous…all of these words describe Ms. English and they type of educator that needs to represent all teachers.

Folsom Elementary

Jennifer Brown serves as a 1st grade teacher for Folsom Elementary. Ms. Brown’s classroom is one that students, peers, and administrators do not ever want to leave. She is exciting, energetic, passionate, flexible, knowledgeable, loving, and caring. Students and parents have loved and appreciated her passion for teaching and her love for students. Ms. Brown’s teammates and peers praise her leadership within the campus, touting her joy and willingness to volunteer for anything and everything. She is a true leader and gives her time without the slightest hesitation. Her infectious smile and laughter make her stand out. In the classroom, she is constantly on her feet moving, dancing, checking in with students, teaching, listening, and learning. Anyone who wants to see how a true teacher should be needs to visit her classroom.

Hughes Elementary

Ashley Pontarelli serves as a 2nd grade teacher for Hughes Elementary. Ms. Pontarelli’s colleagues have said that she is always willing to learn from others and try something new. She is always looking for new ways to reach her students, and she sets high expectations for them. She believes that every child in her class can succeed and sets specific goals for her students. She works with them throughout the year to make sure they attain those goals. She is devoted to the whole child and building character within each student. Ms. Pontarelli is a risk taker, takes ownership of all students’ success, shares ideas in positive and respectful ways, and is the ultimate collaborator within her grade level and with other grade levels. Ms. Pontarelli is the ultimate definition of a lifelong learner.

Rucker Elementary

Lisa Morales serves as a 1st grade teacher for Rucker Elementary. Ms. Morales embodies the essence of what any parent, colleague, and more importantly, every child would want in a teacher. She seeks out ways to improve her performance phase in the classroom by reflecting and refining in her learning phase. She utilizes the tools she has gleaned through experience and studies in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education. She is a leader who fosters a collaborative, collective, and inclusive approach with those she serves with and utilizes masterfully the strengths within each of her colleagues. She volunteers her time tutoring and leading parent education classes. Ms. Morales is the consummate professional.

Windsong Ranch Elementary

Tricia Myrie serves as a 1st grade teacher for Windsong Ranch Elementary. Ms. Myrie is admired for her love for kids and the attitude of “I can do anything for them” that she brings to school every single day. Her peers and administrators respect her calm and respectful attitude toward her students, colleagues, and parents. She has such a servant heart and growth mindset, and she constantly seeks to learn best practices, new research, and out-of-the-box ideas that will ultimately make her students successful. Ms. Myrie is the kind of teacher that we all dream about. She has a vast knowledge of curriculum and pedagogy, but even more, she knows how to build relationships with students so they will give their all in every aspect of their educational experience.

Reynolds Middle School

Latisha Pruiett teaches both college and career explorations and computer literacy for Reynolds Middle School. Ms. Pruiett is admired for her willingness to do anything for students. She goes above and beyond to help each student, especially her special education and 504 students. She is a team player who helps everyone on campus, and she does so without complaining. As an electives teacher, she readily provides assistance to core teachers and fellow electives teachers. She knows everyone on staff and builds relationships with her colleagues and students. Ms. Pruiett sees the strengths within each student, and she especially seeks out the struggling students to provide for them the support and encouragement they need to succeed in not only her class, but in all of their classes at Reynolds Middle School and beyond.

Rogers Middle School

Lindy Wilcox serves as a seventh grade science teacher for Rogers Middle School. Ms. Wilcox is admired by students and teachers alike for the relationships she builds with all students and staff members. She is respected for her leadership skills, positive attitude, and her focus on providing high quality instruction every day of the school year. She creates a safe, positive, and respectful classroom environment where students are actively engaged in meaningful learning. Her students feel supported and encouraged, and they leave her classroom successful.