Created in 2010, the prestigious award is described as “recognizing superior contributions of teachers whose leadership and dedication inspire a spirit of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities”.
Young and Walls were nominated by their peers, and after an in-depth application process, they were two of three teachers in Lubbock County selected by the Beaumont Foundation. Each will receive a check for $10,000.
Barbara Young, Westwind Elementary
With more than 35 years of teaching experience, Barbara Young is a standout teacher at Westwind Elementary. She currently serves as the kindergarten through fifth grade math intervention teacher for the campus.
Described as having a gift for teaching, Young’s peers have praised her dedication and passion to equipping students with the tools they need to succeed.
Just this year, Young received a Frenship Foundation grant to create a math manipulative library. This new addition to Westwind will be available to students and teachers in all grades and will benefit each classroom. She has also helped organize a Math Bee for the last ten years.
“She sets high expectations for all her students and wants them to understand she believes in each of them and knows they are capable of learning,” said Denise Johnson, Westwind teacher who nominated Young. “Every student in her room feels successful and knows that they are in a safe positive environment.”
Through her innovate activities and technology integration, Young has helped countless students to understand and love math.
“I hope to one day be able to inspire someone as much as Mrs. Young has inspired me,” wrote one of her students.
Heather Walls, Ninth Grade Center
Heather Walls has 16 years of education experience and currently serves as a biology, Pre-AP biology, and gifted and talented biology teacher for the Ninth Grade Center. Not only is Walls well loved by her students, but she also serves a mentor to her peers as the team lead for the NGC science department.
“Heather’s high expectations and passion for learning is infectious. She makes everyone she comes in contact with better,” said Keela Artho, NGC teacher. “Her compassion and dedication have made the Frenship Ninth Grade Center a stronger community.”
To keep her students engaged, Walls routinely organizes activities such as planting wildflower gardens, growing a fruit tree, and raising butterflies to spark a love for biology in her students. In her classroom, students collaborate and help each other learn, taking struggles and turning them into learning opportunities. In fact, with the help of her leadership, the NGC received a 99% pass rate for biology.
“Our students have thrived with her hands on labs, projects and assignments,” said NGC Principal Heath Simpson. “When you walk into Ms. Walls class, you are going to see innovative, hands on, collaborative, and higher thinking lessons. She is called to be a teacher and we are extremely blessed to have her in FISD and the Ninth Grade Center.”
With constant praises from her peers and students, it is no surprise Walls was selected as an Excellence in Education Award recipient.