Texas Teacher To Be Inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame
CONTACT: NTHF Deputy Director Ken Weaver (620) 341-5660, email@example.com or Brittney Brooks, Family and Engagement Specialist with the Texarkana Independent School District, (903) 794-3651, Brittney.Brooks@txkisd.net.
March 27, 2023- EMPORIA, KANSAS – A career teacher at Texas High School was surprised at a community gathering this afternoon. Monica Washington learned that she has been selected as one of only five career teachers across the nation to be inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023, the 31st class for the organization. Family members and friends joined in a celebration after the announcement. Brittney Brooks, Family and Engagement Specialist with the school district, worked diligently to keep the event a secret until today.
A 20 year veteran of teaching, Washington’s most recent teaching experience has been 10 years teaching 11th grade English at Texas High School, Texarkana, TX. She is the 7th teacher from Texas to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, joining Connie Bagley, Sallie Langseth, Martha McLeod, Suzanne Ransleben, Dr. Rebecca Palacios, and Debra Hurst.
In June, Washington will join four other teachers from Connecticut and Florida for a series of recognition events in Emporia, Kansas, which include a livestreamed roundtable discussion, participating in community events, rededicating the National Memorial to Fallen Educators, and being honored at the induction banquet and ceremony. The five inductees will also be honored in May at a reception hosted by the National Education Association in Washington, DC as a follow-up to National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Ryan Murry, her Department Chair, wrote: “Monica is a creative, intelligent individual who exemplifies every trait that makes an outstanding educator. Working with at-risk students, she created a community of love and support. She was the guiding light who offered students a path to success. Later Monica focused her efforts on the junior Advanced Placement English classes. It was a pleasure brainstorming with her on teaching techniques that could benefit students of varying abilities.”
Africa Afeni Mills, Instructional Coach, commented on Monica’s work as an Instructional Coach:
“It was very clear that her effectiveness as a coach came from a deep respect for and skill with educators and students. Collaborating with Monica was such a life-giving experience because of her generosity, brilliance, passion, and the insightful way she’d develop scaffolds for educators. She is a stellar example of who we should aspire to be as educators.”
Raven Morris, former student, and now teacher reflected: “When I think of the ongoing impact Mrs. Washington has had on my educational trajectory, the phrase “how, not what” come to mind. Mrs. Washington did not teach us want to think but how to approach some of the most divisive, controversial questions we will encounter in life. Mrs. Washington’s guidance as a teacher is much of why I teach my own students how to think, not what to think.”
Kimberly Bursey-Reese, parent of a former student, noted: “Mrs. Washington got to know each student personally and carefully crafted a learning environment in which each student’s voice was honored and respected. Her concern, dedication, and commitment as well as her unique teaching style and abilities truly helps shape the lives of her students, especially my son.”
Monica received her Bachelor’s degree in English from LeMoyne-Owen College in 1998 and her Masters in English from the University of Memphis in 2003. Her Education Specialist degree was earned at Walden University in 2019.
Monica was the 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year. Also in 2014, she received the Texarkana NAACP Special Achievement Award from the Texarkana Chapter NAACP, the California Casualty Award from Horace Mann, and the Ermalee Boice Instructional Advocacy Award from the Texas State Teachers of the Year. In 2015, Monica was an NEA Global Learning Fellow and a Lowell Milken Unsung Hero Fellow. Brightbeam named her in their top 21 of Rising Women of 2021. She is an NEA Foundation Board member and chairs the NEA Teacher Advisory Committee. Monica also co-chairs the Leading the Profession Committee for the Texas State Teachers Association.
Monica describes her teaching style:“I designed opportunities for students to be learners and teachers, Inquiry, discourse, and choice were three tools I used to create an intellectual environment in which my students could grow. The most productive relationship between teachers and students occurs when learning exists in a class community. When teachers listen and give space and grace to students, students are willing to challenge themselves and will take academic risks. Often I saw that the American literature curriculum failed to include identities and perspectives of Americans from diverse backgrounds. I collaborated with colleagues to find other works to fill in missing aspects of American life from the curriculum, and I taught my students to always look for diverse perspectives that might have been missing from what they were studying. When I was intentional about incorporating choice, voice, and discourse into my lessons that I became a more effective teacher.”
The five educators to be inducted were selected for the Class of 2023 by a national selection committee which met in February. “The selection committee is composed of representatives from national educational organizations, corporate partners, and NTHF Membership. The committee evaluates the nominees on responses to questions regarding their professional profile, their teaching both inside and outside the classroom, educational issues and accountability,” said Ken Weaver, Deputy Director of the NTHF. “It is always a difficult decision because twenty-four semi-finalists are deserving. The committee carefully examines what each candidate has done and is doing for the teaching profession as they try to determine finalists and then inductees. This is truly an honor to be named as one of only five teachers in the nation to be selected this year.”
The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in Emporia, KS in 1989 to honor teachers and the teaching profession through a recognition program and museum. Nominees must be certified public or non-public schoolteachers, active or retired, with at least 20 years of experience in teaching grades preK-12. Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 150 educators from 41 states and the District of Columbia have been inducted. This year's class of inductees represents the 31st anniversary of NTHF induction ceremonies, when the Class of 2023 will be inducted. Inducted alphabetically, Monica will be number 155 in the Hall of Fame.
Some of the major awards each inductee will receive include: