Christy McCarter, an elementary teacher at Spring Lake Park Elementary in Texarkana, has been selected to represent Region VIII Education Service Center as the Elementary Teacher of the Year and will now move forward as a Finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year.

The Texas State Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program has honored excellence in classroom education and provided a forum to highlight many outstanding educators whose efforts and example have inspired their students, their colleagues, and the communities they serve since 1969.

McCarter, who has 20 years in education, serves as a Fifth Grade English Language Arts & Reading Teacher at Spring Lake Park Elementary School. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. McCarter has completed the TISD Leadership Academy program and has served as a Team Leader and member of the Academic Lighthouse Team at her school.

She is a devoted educator focused on the academic, social, and emotional growth of her students. McCarter believes that student success is based upon fostering meaningful relationships and holding herself and her students to high expectations. Additionally, she feels that loving her students first provides the foundation for trust, engagement, and hard work throughout the academic year and beyond.

According to McCarter,

“if you ever want to know what kind of teacher you are, allow your students to take over and be the ‘teacher of the day.’” Though not always the case, she will forever live by this belief after watching her students become the teacher of her class. “Wow, they were really amazing. Where did they learn to teach like that?”

Watching her students’ lead the class was and is all the validation she needs to have in order to know that she is doing what she is meant to do in life.

“Education cannot just be what we learn in reading, math and science. As educators, we must focus on ways to make sure the education we provide our students transcends the classroom. We must find ways to ensure our education lasts a lifetime and is not forgotten,”

shared McCarter.

Through her efforts, she finds that students invite her to extracurricular activities outside of the school. McCarter attends football games, basketball games, choir competitions, and even baptisms.

“For a short period of their lives, I get to be on their team. Years later, I have had students tell me they remember me coming to their birthday party or yelling for them in the stands of a little league game. I invest my time in them because that time invested goes beyond the education I provide them in my classroom. It is an investment in them and their worth and their value as a human being. An investment that they will remember long after they leave my classroom.”

As the Region VIII ESC Elementary Teacher of the Year, McCarter will be recognized during the TEA State Board of Education Teacher of the Year Banquet in Austin in October, or another date to be determined. She will serve as a traveling ambassador for public education to speak for, motivate and exemplify the contributions of the teaching profession along

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