Love and hidden strengths were the keys to this duo being named the top teachers in the Mansfield Independent School District (MISD).
Laurie Skaggs received the honor as Elementary Teacher of the Year and Douglas Arnold was awarded Secondary Teacher of the Year.
As a result of their honors, Skaggs and Arnold were entered in the Education Service Center Region XI Teacher of the Year competition, from which candidates will be selected for Texas Teacher of the Year. The regional Teachers of the Year will be announced in July with the Texas Teachers of the Year being named at a banquet in September.
Skaggs is a sixth-grade math teacher at Mary Orr Intermediate School. She joined MISD in 2015 after having worked in public schools in Oklahoma and Kansas. Her secret to successful students, she said, is making them feel loved, wanted, important and safe.
"She’s a natural leader. She’s passionate about what she does," said Duane Thurston, Mary Orr principal. "She's involved in the lives of the kids, whether that’s math, after-school activities, tutoring, or being involved with parents."
Arnold, meanwhile, has spent 23 years in education, including since 1997 at MISD. He teaches U.S. history, economics and government at Summit High School, and believes every student has a hidden strength.
"Mr. Arnold works with our special needs students and has a real knack for what he does," said Todd Taylor, Summit principal. "He has a real balance between providing the services the students need, yet challenging them to reach their utmost potential. He understands the need to respect students the way that he would like to be respected."
Both recipients were humble of their accolades.
"We are just proud as parents to have our kids at this district, and this is just icing on the cake," Skaggs said.
"I am overwhelmed. I accept this award on behalf of all my Summit colleagues who do a wonderful job every day," Arnold said.
The process to become MISD's Teacher of the Year begins by winning at the campus level as the teachers are voted for by their peers. From those 43 winners, a committee selects three finalists from the elementary schools and three from the secondary schools. The district Teachers of the Year are then chosen from those finalists after a round of interviews from an administrative team.