Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Round of Applause

Round of Applause

Let’s give a round of applause to our ATPE members all around the state who go above and beyond.

Dr. Isela Russell, Lewisville ISD

The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) announced in September that six outstanding educators from across Texas were chosen as finalists in the 2024 Texas Teacher of the Year program, including the following ATPE members:

  • Dr. Isela Russell, Wellington Elementary School, Lewisville ISD
  • Taniece Thompson-Smith, Stafford Elementary School, Abilene ISD

Nine ATPE members were also recognized as 2024 Texas Regional Teachers of the Year:

  • Region 3: Lindsay Ferrell, Howell Middle School, Victoria ISD
  • Region 4:
    • Susan Mitchell, Groves Elementary School, Humble ISD
    • Rhonda Perez, Joe Frank Campbell Learning Center, Channelview ISD
  • Region 5: Cheryl Spangler, Dishman Elementary School, Beaumont ISD
  • Region 8: Amanda LaRue, Paris High School, Paris ISD
  • Region 15: Veronica Stapper, Glenmore Elementary School, San Angelo ISD
  • Region 16: Kelley Jo Ashlock, Friona High School, Friona ISD
  • Region 17: Tara Espindola, Upland Heights Elementary School, Frenship ISD
  • Region 19: Adrian Stevens, Sageland MicroSociety Elementary School, Ysleta ISD
From left: Region 13 ATPE Director Stephanie Stoebe, ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes, Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year Taniece Thompson-Smith, and ATPE State Vice President Jason Forbis

The Texas Teachers of the Year were recognized at a ceremony in Round Rock Oct. 20. Taniece Thompson-Smith was named Texas’ Elementary Teacher of the Year, and she will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Congratulations to the 40 regional Teachers of the Year for representing excellence in Texas public education!


The following elementary teachers were honored during an Humble ISD board meeting in October. Each teacher was chosen by their peers to represent their respective campuses for the 2023-24 school year.

  • Cristina Doyle, Atascocita Springs Elementary
  • Rachelle Thomas, Deerwood Elementary
  • Briana Edwards, Eagle Springs Elementary
  • Susan Mitchell, Groves Elementary
  • Lisa Cruz, Maplebrook Elementary
  • Mary Canavan, Oak Forest Elementary
  • Lucy Hernandez, Park Lakes Elementary
  • Jennifer Eakin, Pine Forest Elementary
  • Paul Touchstone, Willow Creek Elementary
  • Amy Hays, Woodland Hills Elementary


Samantha Montaño, a 1990 graduate of Lewisville High School, was recently inducted into her alma mater’s Hall of Fame. Montaño and two other alumni were recognized at the district’s homecoming parade and in a ceremony during halftime at Lewisville High School’s homecoming game in October.


Alexandria Hurst, a second grade teacher at Irvin Elementary School, received the 2023 Jean Coleman Award for Excellence in Reading Education, along with a $250 award from the Coleman family.


Pedro Tovar, a teacher at McMichael Middle School, was ranked fourth among 6,000 English as a Second Language teachers in Texas. Tovar was recognized at a Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) event in October.

San Antonio

Dominique Roose, an eighth grade history teacher at Folks Middle School in Northside (20) ISD, received KENS 5’s EXCEL award. KENS 5 and Credit Human presented Roose with a $1,000 check at a pep rally in September.


Terry Farley, a special education teacher at Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs, was named Tyler ISD’s Teacher of the Month in September.

Do you want to recognize a fellow ATPE member in the next issue of ATPE News? Contact us at!