Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

Dayton ISD Honors the District’s Teachers of the Year

  • Article Image Alt Text
    Secondary Teacher of the Year, LaDonna Hess and DHS Assistant Principal, Thomas Swacker at the Region 4 Teacher of the Year Luncheon. Contributed Photos
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Elementary Teacher of the Year, Amanda Odom and Richter Elementary Principal, Ashley Hobbs at the 34th Annual Teachers of the Year Luncheon held in Houston.

Dayton ISD has some outstanding educators but every year they are tasked with selecting two rock stars that rise to the top. With the help of the Dayton Rotary Club, two teachers are selected to become the District Elementary Teacher of the Year and the District Secondary Teacher of the Year. Those two amazing teachers are Amanda Odom and LaDonna Hess.

At Monday’s DISD Convocation, both of these award-winning teachers had the opportunity to address and give advice to the entire school district. Mrs. LaDonna Hess stepped up on the stage and took the staff members down her educational journey. She talked about society and educational changes that she has seen throughout her career. Hess also discussed the importance of everyone being a difference-maker in the lives of our children. The Secondary Teacher of the Year encouraged everyone to always be enthusiastic and passionate about what you teach and the importance of building relationships with students… “Each child is so very different BUT it is up to us to find out what support they need in their life. If we accomplish this we will be able to grow them into lifelong learners.” Mrs. Hess went on to state, “You have to make your profession about the students and not about you; however, the only way that you can truly make this about them is to dedicate yourself to doing what is right for children. For example, I have been trying to learn Spanish over the summer just so I can meet the needs of my students and my community better. I need to grow myself in order to be a better teacher. My mother always told me, I should have learned Spanish in high school. I wish she was still around to see how I am growing.” As the DHS educator concluded her speech to the staff, she gave them some wonderful words of encouragement. “Be brave… Never stop learning for the betterment of yourself. New ideas and change can be scary, but you must do this to help our children. Be inquisitive -Do not judge your children. Get to know them. The sooner the better. Make connections with them. Be relentless in your faith -you and I are not perfect humans, but we love children and this is the path that we have chosen. You must have faith through all of your professional and personal trials. If we do this, we will encourage our children to love learning and love life. Remember that our children need our positive influence in their lives.” LaDonna Hess is moving into a new role this year at Dayton High School and will be the English Language Arts Instructional Coach.

Mrs. Amanda Odom’s speech was just as impactful as Mrs. Hess’ was. Building relationships and making connections with students was the focus of Amanda’s presentation. She reflected back on her own days as a student stating, “Looking back, I can see that each and every teacher shaped me into the teacher you see today. The teachers who opted to get to know me, the ones who took the time to see me as a learner with potential and a key part of the class, those teachers are the ones that had an impact on me. That is the greatest feeling in the world for a child, is to feel valued and heard. I was a quiet student, who just blended in. But when I felt the teacher noticed me, reached out to me, got to know ME…well I felt I could move mountains. It was magical.” Odom encouraged all teachers to not only build those relationships, but talked about the importance of teaching with passion, enthusiasm and to always be caring. “Teaching is my passion. Plain and simple. Therefore, I want to leave you with this… It doesn’t matter if this is your 1st year, 10th year, 24th year or 30th year…. my advice to you is the same. It is worth it. All aspects of teaching…. is worth it.

A former principal once told me, They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Mrs. Amanda Odom is a 5th grade Elementary Teacher at Richter Elementary School Then on Tuesday, both of these educators attended the Region 4 Teacher of the Year Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Americas in Houston with campus administrators and DISD Superintendent, Dr. Jessica Johnson. Dayton ISD is very proud of both of these ladies and look forward to seeing the impact they will have on their students this school year.