Special to The Dallas Examiner
(CEDAR HILL) – Accolades may come for Latonya Gaither, fifth grade science teacher at Collegiate Prep Elementary, but she doesn’t expect them. She said she prefers to let her teaching speak for itself.
That’s why she was particularly surprised on Monday morning when Texas Trust Senior Business and Community Relations Manager Michelle Carter-Pope joined Collegiate Prep Principal Xavier Lewis to present Gaither with the Texas Trust Trusted Hero Award.
“I didn’t expect this recognition – I’m just doing what we need to do for our scholars,” Gaither said.
The award comes with a $250 prize.
“Ms. Gaither’s nomination represents her work as an awesome teacher,” Carter-Pope said.
Gaither said the prize money will go toward her classroom, to benefit her fifth-grade scholars.
Gaither, who’s in her seventh year as a teacher, is in her first year in Cedar Hill ISD. She moved to the area from San Antonio where Gaither’s husband was stationed in the United States Air Force. Gaither herself is a U.S. Air Force Veteran.
Since arriving at CHISD, Gaither has been impressed with the district’s emphasis on #STEMSpired.
“STEMSpired is amazing,” Gaither said. “It’s going to drive scholars to become better problem solvers and to understand their environment better. Science just permeates everything.”
Lewis, a first-year principal who himself taught fifth grade science in the Houston area, is impressed with Gaither’s impact on the campus. He nominated her for the award.
“I wish my classroom – when I had taught – had looked like hers does now,” Lewis said. “It has Project-Based Learning Stations, and it’s a model 21st Century Classroom. We need to see more like it.”
The daughter of educators, Gaither grew up in Gary, Indiana near Chicago.
“Because my parents were educators, I always wanted to go in the direction of something else,” Gaither said. “But I was ultimately drawn back to education.”
Gaither earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Wayland Baptist in Plainview and a psychology degree from the University of Maryland. She’s currently working on a doctorate in Learning & Organizational Change at Baylor University.