Sharone Woolen from Marshall ISD and Cynthia Kling from Athens ISD have been named Elementary and Secondary Teachers’ of the Year by Region 7 Education Service Center. Both of these educators will represent Region 7 as its nominees for the 2013 Texas Teacher of the Year.
Woolen and Kling were nominated by their local school districts for their concern for students and the capability to inspire them, ability and willingness to work cooperatively with colleagues, drive to initiate activities that improve instruction for students, ability to work effectively with different groups in the community, desire to stay informed about current educational theories and practices, and their ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education.
Elementary Teacher of the Year, Sharone Woolen, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) in 1997. In May 2012, she received her Master of Education in Curriculum Instruction, also from ETBU. Woolen has 15 years of teaching experience, ten of which are at Marshall ISD. Prior to her work in MISD, Woolen served as a 1st grade teacher and Team Leader at George P. Hendrix Elementary in the Caddo Parish School District. Currently, Sharone teaches fourth grade at Robert E. Lee Elementary. She is an eight-time recipient of the district Teacher of the Year Award.
At the end of last school year, after teaching first and second grade for over 14 years, Woolen was burned out. After much anticipation, she went to her principal and asked to be moved to a testing grade. Much sooner than expected, Sharone was moved to fourth grade the following year. “I am so thankful that God did not allow me to become a cantankerous teacher who viewed teaching as just a job. I have fallen in love with teaching all over again. Each day I am given opportunities to see my students excel and experience new heights in my career,” says Woolen.
“My goal as a teacher is to provide every child in my classroom with the confidence to conquer anything. I don’t really like the coined statement, ‘the sky is the limit.’ I think it should say, ‘dream big and go beyond the sky.’ As an educator, I have to look beyond inability and see ability,” says Woolen.
Ms. Woolen is an active member of her school and community, participating in the Red Cross, March of Dimes, United Way, Shriners, and Breast Cancer Awareness. She is founder and coordinator of the Young Ladies of Childress Deliverance Temple; an organization that strives for Godly virtues and leadership among young women, ages 7 to 17. Among other things, this group teaches ladies how to prepare healthy meals, garden, sew, manage money, and prepare for college.
Secondary Teacher of the Year, Cynthia Kling, has 22 years of teaching experience with the last three years being in Athens ISD. Kling is currently employed at Athens High School teaching 9th -12th grade Art, Drawing, and Sculpture. Prior to joining Athens ISD, Kling taught at Mansfield ISD and at the Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Okinawa, Japan.
Kling earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington with emphasis in History and Elementary Education. She has been selected as District and Secondary Teacher of the Year at AISD, has received the Athens ISD Lifesaver Award twice, was a Mansfield ISD Extra Mile Award nominee, and wrote/received a Mansfield Education Foundation Grant in 2002.
“I am particularly proud of my work with at risk and/or behaviorally challenged students. My classroom has often been the transition room for students mainstreaming back into a regular education setting. I believe my past educational struggles help me understand the insecurities a student can feel and I use my empathy to offer nonjudgmental support. I treat each day as a fresh start and make sure my students always have a new chance to make good decisions. My students know I accept the person, including the[ir] faults, and will work to help them grow socially, emotionally and academically,” says Kling.
Cynthia’s primary goal for every school year is to build a sense of community with my students. She spends time in the beginning of the year learning about her students and building relationships that will reap rewards throughout the school year. According to her application, “Authentic team building activities are the key to building positive relationships. I believe relationship building is the most important part of education. Our students need teachers who care above all else.”