Amarillo ISD announces District Teachers of the Year

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Amarillo ISD 2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year is Gayla Martin, and Secondary Teacher of Year is Heather Blythe-Yaws, announced at the annual Lamar Lively Teacher of the Year Breakfast.

Martin is a fourth-grade reading and social studies teacher at South Georgia Elementary. Blythe-Yaws is an AP and International Baccalaureate biology teacher, as well as the cheer sponsor at Amarillo High School.

These weren’t the only teachers recognized by Amarillo ISD, as each campus gave out a Teacher of the Year award for their accomplishments at the campus level.

Recognized teachers at the event received a glass block and poster symbolic of their accomplishment at the campus level. Both of Amarillo ISD’s district teachers of the year will compete for Region 16 Teacher of the Year, announced in August.

San Jacinto Elementary School Principal Justin Ruiz said this event is an opportunity to give teachers a pat on the back.

“We’re so busy in the day to day and it’s just a great opportunity to stop and truly give thanks to truly the best of the best. These teachers are nominated by their peers and it truly is a testament to their job,” said Ruiz.

2019-2020 Elementary Teacher of the Year, Stacy Gjerde spoke about the profound impact of living and teaching through a pandemic. “Great things never came from our comfort zone. Little by little, day by day, we were able to navigate our way with our students. Continue leaving your legacy for all those precious lives you have touched,” she said.

The District said the campus and district teachers of the year represent the level of quality educators in the Amarillo community, driven by one of the District’s core values, a commitment to Superior Staffing.  The naming of the district teachers of the year caps of National PTA’s Teacher Appreciation Week.

In communications to AISD’s 2,300 teachers this week, Superintendent Doug Loomis commended their dedication. “Thank you for being educators who exemplify courage, commitment, excellence and have chosen to teach in AISD.”

Amarillo ISD 2021 Teacher of the Year Finalists:

Elementary Division:

  • Kimberly Carter-Forest Hill Elementary
  • Gayla Martin-South Georgia Elementary
  • Jill Swann-Tradewind Elementary

Secondary Division:

  • Heather Blythe-Yaws-Amarillo High School
  • Sarah Cline-Caprock High School
  • Kara Gant-de Zavala Middle School

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