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TASA, which facilitates the Texas Teacher of the Year program, has named Texas’ top teachers for 2023.

Shelley Jeoffroy, a fifth-grade math teacher at Otis Brown Elementary in Irving ISD, was named the 2023 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Jeoffroy was chosen to represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition, so she will have the title of 2023 Texas Teacher of the Year. Chris McLeod, a rocket engineering teacher from Brazosport ISD (Clute, Texas), was named the 2023 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year.

The announcements were made during an awards ceremony in Round Rock, Texas, October 21. (Photos are available here.) Both state-level winners will receive a cash award and a commemorative trophy.

Also honored during the luncheon were the Regional Teachers of the Year and the finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year: Kari Johnston, Perez Elementary School, Austin ISD; Andrea Larson, McNeil High School, Round Rock ISD; Lisa Mackey, Fox Elementary School, Klein ISD; and Tricia Shay, Borger High School, Borger ISD.

“I congratulate Shelley and Chris on this achievement. Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor our state bestows upon its teachers,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of TASA. “They have distinguished themselves among thousands of outstanding, dedicated teachers across our state and nation have who have answered the call to serve others.”

2023 Texas Teacher of the Year

Shelley Jeoffroy, Otis Brown Elementary, Irving ISD

Shelley Jeoffroy is a fifth-grade math teacher at Otis Brown Elementary in Irving ISD. Her career in education spans 17 years, with the past 15 years in Irving. Over the years, she has taught all subjects, but primarily math and science. She also has made educational contributions globally, serving students in Kenya, Peru, Mexico and Morocco. “Having witnessed the possibilities while working with very economically challenged students in a variety of countries, I have advocated for more innovative opportunities for students in my American classrooms,” she said. “I pushed for lessons as a district curriculum writer that allowed for not simply the presentation and confirmation of knowledge, but that afforded scholars the chance to be inventive with their new learning and skills. … At first, my American students were somewhat resistant as this wasn’t their normal educational experience. However, with time, their confidence grew, and they flourished. They would approach any new knowledge with a sense of assurance and bravery, and innovativeness became second nature. … Students were much more engaged and invested because they were now the actual pilots not just the passengers.” Jeoffroy holds a BA in English and biology from The University of Texas in Arlington, where she also attended graduate school.

Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year

Chris McLeod, Brazoswood High School, Brazosport ISD

Chris McLeod teaches 10th-12th grade rocket engineering at Brazoswood High School in Brazosport ISD. During his 11-year career in education, he has taught physics, chemistry, engineering and a host of other science courses as well as student council and teen leadership. McLeod’s classroom is a place of collaboration and “organized chaos” as groups dive into research, design, and fabrication, with teams routinely meeting with local industrial and manufacturing businesses as they develop their rockets. His students have hosted design reviews with professionals from Blue Origin, SpaceX, NASA, Dow, BASF and many other companies. His teams have consistently earned praise on their research and design of high-power hybrid rockets and are often in communication with university rocketry teams. “One of the highlights of my year is taking students to NASA for design reviews,” McLeod said. “Students have spent months coding computer models to predict the dynamic behavior of a rocket. However, they still have a hurdle to cross before building anything — a full-fledged review with an engineering panel at the Johnson Space Center. In this moment, those students must prove their work to the professionals. No classroom, no lecture, no teacher help — it is student and engineer, discussing, planning, and proving their system with people currently working to send astronauts back to the moon. How cool is that?” McLeod earned his BS in Marine Science from Texas A&M University. He currently serves on a safety review board for the Spaceport America Cup — an international university rocket competition.

Texas Teacher of the Year Program

To achieve recognition as Texas Elementary or Secondary Teacher of the Year, a teacher must first be chosen as a campus and district teacher of the year, then a regional honoree. From the group of 40 regional teachers of the year, six finalists are chosen and interviewed by an independent panel of judges composed of representatives of education associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State Board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year.

The state’s top elementary and secondary teachers are selected from these six finalists, and the Texas nominee for National Teacher of the Year is chosen from the top two winners. In 2015, Texas Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples of Amarillo ISD was the second Texas teacher to be named the National Teacher of the Year.

The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in classroom education since 1969 and continues to annually recognize and reward teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.

The program operates with financial support and in-kind contributions from the following:

Premier Sponsors

Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union
Imagine Learning

Platinum Sponsors

Raise Your Hand Texas
Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)

Gold Sponsors

Capturing Kids’ Hearts
Centric Learning
Texas AFT

Silver Sponsors

Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)
Texas ASCD
Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP)
Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA)
Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE)
Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA)
Texas PTA
Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)
Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA)