Friday, August 19, 2016

SBISD Teacher of the Year Wins Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award

Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri (left) and Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award winner Amanda Tysor (second from left) with Teach for America officials
For the first time ever, a Spring Branch ISD educator has been named a winner of the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award, a prestigious local honor that includes a $20,000 cash award.

Amanda Tysor, who is SBISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year, was notified of the award in a surprise announcement made by Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri and Teach for America official Tiffany Cuellar Needham during district Convocation held Aug. 12 in Don Coleman Coliseum.

Amanda Tysor (left) with her Northbrook High School colleagues at Convocation 2016
Since 2009, the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Awards have recognized 12 teachers across the greater Houston region, and awarded each $20,000. A Teach for America (TFA) alumna and Northbrook High algebra teacher, Tysor was one of two TFA alumni selected for the honor this year.

The Kinder Awards were established by philanthropists Nancy and Rich Kinder. Mr. Kinder is the co-founder and executive chairman of Kinder Morgan, a Houston-based energy corporation that operates a large network of natural gas and refined petroleum products pipelines.

The couple established the awards in honor of Mr. Kinder’s mother to recognize innovative and results-oriented teaching and to raise public awareness of the importance of effective and highly committed teachers.

TFA local Executive Director Needham announced the award at Convocation to a surprised Tysor, who was called to the coliseum stage by Dr. Muri who first talked to the crowd proudly about the young Spring Branch ISD grad’s life and career calling.

“Teach for America-Houston proudly nominates two of the 12 winners each year, and I couldn’t be more proud that they’ve selected one of our own to recognize as a 2016 recipient. As a valued partner, Spring Branch is home to many TFA alumni and a dozen new teachers for the 2016-2017 school year ahead,” Needham said in prepared remarks.

This is the first year that a SBISD teacher has earned a Kinder Award, which dates back to 2009. The local TFA team’s presentation at Convocation included issuance of a symbolic “big check,” trophy and superhero “cape” to a clearly surprised young educator.

Tysor says she was “surprised and embarrassed” at first to be called publicly to the Convocation stage, but those initial feelings changed over quickly to shock and greater surprise.

“I was totally shocked to be presented with the Kinder Award. I always enjoy Convocation, but this year was more exciting than I could have imagined,” she said. “I feel honored, humbled and excited to continue to work hard for my students at Northbrook High and strive for excellence in my classroom.”

Tysor, who begins a fifth year teaching at Northbrook High on Aug. 22, is a proud product of the district. She attended Wilchester Elementary for one year and then moved to the Memorial Drive Elementary neighborhood. A graduate of Spring Branch Middle and Memorial High, she was the Class of 2008 Memorial homecoming queen and a co-valedictorian.

At the University of Texas at Austin, she pursued pre-med studies with the prestigious Plan II Honors program, but decided in her junior year that working with children was her real passion.

She returned to SBISD through Teach for America at Northbrook High, where she is an algebra team leader and a mentor to new teachers. Tysor has been a part of the curriculum writing team, piloted MAP testing, and is currently a member of the Campus Improvement Team at the high school.

After school, Tysor is a volunteer leader with Young Life, a Christian ministry for high school students. Her last week of summer was spent backpacking with a group of Northbrook High students at a Young Life camp in Colorado.

Days after the award, she remains shocked by the check presentation and dollar amount, but does “hope to give much back to the community and maybe enjoy a vacation, too.” 

Other Headlines: Read why Teach for America Recruits choose Spring Branch ISD HERE.  


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