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Meet the 2021 ATPE Special Services Member of the Year, Dr. Audrey Young

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 10/08/2021

The Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Awards recognize ATPE members who demonstrate exceptional or innovative capabilities in their respective educational fields. This year’s winners were honored during the 2021 ATPE Virtual Summit. 

The 2021 Special Services Member of the Year award was presented to Dr. Audrey Young of Nacogdoches ISD. Audrey has served as the Director of Student Support Services for the past four years—but she has been in public education for the past 27 years! In November 2020, she was elected to the State Board of Education representing District 8.

ATPE reached out to Audrey to find out what she has enjoyed most throughout her career!

What is your favorite part of your job?
Most recently, I have worked closely with the dyslexia parent group of Conroe and the “Kitchen Table Moms” of the Dallas Metroplex during the 87th Legislature and am a major supporter for the special education community! I have provided several legislative updates, participated in an unimaginable number of virtual and face-to-face meetings related to refreshing the state’s Dyslexia Handbook, and continued to fight tirelessly for the rights of all children. My number one passion is special education. 

What is the most important thing you wish someone had told you when you started out in your career?
These are critical times for public education, fraught with successes and challenges. I find deep satisfaction in energetically confronting tough educational issues and working collegially to resolve them. I just wish someone would have warned me I'd be "walking uphill = both ways."

What is the most important thing Texas educators can do for their profession? 
For me, the most important thing is to be:

  • A Passionate Educator who believes that all students can thrive in a learning environment that is stimulating and appropriate to their unique talents and abilities. 
  • A Transformer of school programs through collaborative planning, curriculum management, grant funding, and communication with the community.  
  • An Instructional Leader who subscribes to a balance of motivational and targeted instruction methodologies as part of  enhancing curricula while focusing on the three ‘Rs”: rigor, relevance, and relationships. 
  • An Advocate for students to enroll in and become successful students and develop to their fullest extent. 
  • A Visionary for integrating best practices, research, cultural and educational needs of students, with the community and stakeholders. 
  • A supporter of all students, staff, and teachers. 

Share a fun fact about yourself!
I am the ninth generation of the Rose family to reside in Texas! My family is recognized by the Texas State Historical Society as a Texas First Family. My family member John Washington Rose was elected to the very first Texas Legislature in 1846, representing Victoria County. Following the legacy of the Rose family, 175 years later, I now serve as an elected state official. My great (x7) grandfather was known as "Hell Roaring Rose," a War of 1812 veteran and a leader in the Regulator-Moderator War. Rose was accused of shooting and killing Sen. Robert Potter in 1842 at Caddo Lake. Their mutual contempt for each other ran deeper than politics as, according to family tradition, Potter's unsuccessful attempts to pay court to the attractive daughters of the Rose family also caused some conflict. The news of Potter's death was reported in both Texas and United States newspapers, and Charles Dickens, who was then on his American tour, commented on it in his American Notes. Because feelings were running so high, the case was removed to Nacogdoches on a change of venue. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk came from Austin to defend his friend Rose, and the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Fast forward 176 years—in 2018, I walked into a Nacogdoches Bank and met an employee by the name of Thomas Potter. After exchanging a few polite words, I decided to ask Potter if he was of the Robert Potter family and much to my surprise, he was, to which I replied, "Then I guess I owe you an apology 176 years in the making—I'm sorry that my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather shot and killed your great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather." To which Potter replied, "You must be of the Rose family, apology accepted."  It truly is a small, small world.