Two Manor Independent School District school teachers have been named the 2021 Regional Teachers of the Year by Education Service Center Region 13.
Paul Davies has earned the title of Secondary Regional Teacher of the Year and Caitlin Lowery has earned the title of Elementary Regional Teacher of the Year. Both will represent Region 13 in the statewide contest for Texas Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Rich Elsasser, Executive Director of ESC Region 13, says, “We’re always impressed with the level of talent we see in our teachers and we’re incredibly proud of their dedication to educating and empowering our kids. Mr. Davies and Ms. Lowery exemplify the high standard of the teaching profession and are critical roles in the success of our students and our community.”
Paul Davies worked with Manor ISD since 2017 where he was a founding teacher of Manor New Tech MS which opened in 2017. In a short time, he has amassed campus titles, such as Science Department Head, Echo Administrator, University Interscholastic League (UIL) coach, mentor teacher, health hero, and district piano accompanist.
His impact extends beyond the classroom. Davies helps coordinate a monthly Star Party where, in collaboration with the mathematics, social studies, art, and science teams, students lead the transformation of the school into a museum of fun and interactive activities.
Davies’ proudest moment comes from his unit called “Poetry Slam of Science.” By using Project-Based Learning (PBL) complemented with school-wide learning outcomes, he unified multiple disciplines to create a supportive environment and stage for his scholars to shine. “To have a multi-learning outcome dream, and work with my team to accomplish it, all for the improvement and betterment of my scholars,” Davis says, “this fuels my fire for learning.”
In these ever changing times, he offers this advice to current and future graduates: “. Lean on your
teachers, your friends, and your family – your journey has only begun and you have been equipped to overcome any obstacle along your path.” For the rest of us, a reminder: “We are all in this together, for the kids.”
Since the time of application, Paul Davies has left Manor ISD and is now a science teacher at Pearson Ranch Middle School in Round Rock ISD.
In her time as an educator, Caitlin Lowery has implemented innovative learning practices such as PBL, creating projects that allow for scholar-led learning through authentic real-world scenarios. She has presented at various international conferences and was named the first-ever recipient of the Culture of Innovation Award for her proactive and collaborative work, as well as sharing her creativity and innovation more broadly outside of her classroom.
In her showcase project titled “Texas of Tomorrow”, her second-grade students explored what Texas means to them through flag design, and Lowery partnered with the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum to guide the learning but also to engage students as vexillographers.
From developing the personalized flags using digital tools to presenting their creations to the museum representative, she “received enthusiastic participation by all of [he] scholars, regardless of ability levels, because they were given tools to write and design in ways they may not have been able to accomplish with a simple pencil and paper.”
She adds, “By removing those limits and placing them in charge of their own learning, they were given the opportunity to show what they know and who they are, and is that not something we all wish for?”
Lowery is purposeful in bringing in experts from the private and public sectors so her scholars have an opportunity to engage with topics, experiences, and professions they may not have access to. “These experiences and tools have shown them that education doesn’t have to come from a teacher, and it doesn’t have to end when they get on the bus to go home [T]hey know that they have the power to learn no matter where they are. Education is theirs to possess and they have all the tools to attain it.”
Since the time of application, Caitlin Lowery has transitioned to another position in Manor ISD. She is now an instructional coach and a Campus Communication Representative at Decker Elementary.
Sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in classroom education since 1969 and continues to annually recognize and reward teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.
TASA’s mission is to promote, provide, and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students.