Cowboys Class Acts | 2020

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Reliant and the Dallas Cowboys are delighted to recognize and honor teachers in the DFW area through Cowboys Class Acts powered by Reliant. Cowboys Class Acts honors teachers that constantly encourage, lead and strive for excellence in the classroom. Once a month during the school year, the Dallas Cowboys and Reliant will recognize a teacher in the DFW area for their phenomenal work empowering our youth.

May Teacher of the Month:

Lindsey Kazanski | Maus Middle School I PE and Girls Athletics Coordinator

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Coach Lindsey Kazanski is in her 11th year as teacher/coach at Maus Middle School in Frisco ISD. She currently serves as the campus Girls Athletic Coordinator and PE teacher, but has held previous positions as Texas History Teacher, ISS Support, PBIS Team Leader, Team Leader, Administrative Intern and Learning Lab Teacher. Coach Kazanski is one of the original staff members that opened Maus back in 2010. She has been a true part of the heartbeat of the school. Her loyalty and dedication to the Maus community has been immeasurable.

Coach Kazanski is very student-centered and believes every student can achieve at high levels. As the athletic coordinator, she truly meets everyone where they are and works to build every student up. She has often brought new and exciting lessons to improve student overall wellness. Coach Kazanski has earned her Master's in Educational Leadership as she believes in being a life-long learner. During her spare time, she can be found spending time with her husband and two kids enjoying a sporting event or the beach.

April Teacher of the Month:

Diana Ray | Frisco High School I Spanish

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Diana Ray has 8 years of experience, starting in middle school and now in high school. Ms. Ray has a BS degree from UDLA in Puebla, Mexico, and a master's degree from the University of Stephen F. Austin. She is a dedicated teacher and an inspiration to not only teachers on her campus, but teachers across the district. She continues to inspire change in her school and her students, motivating them to pursue their dreams and serve others through language learning, while instilling in them compassion and appreciation for different cultures.

Ms. Ray always makes her students laugh. She is the head of her department and a great coach. Ms. Ray provides support, innovation, and a positive impact in her community. Ms. Ray also inspires other minorities in her community as a role model to many Hispanic youth and adults. In addition, she hosts a podcast to provide professional learning opportunities and workshops for fellow teachers.

March Teacher of the Month:

Elizabeth Brock | Knox Elementary School I PE Teacher

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Team player, servant leader, dedication to the students, and passion for the work are just some of the highlights of Ms. Brock's character. Ms. Brock graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology at University of North Texas, and she excels as the team leader by creating engaging and fun lessons for the students. Even this year with strict COVID protocols, Ms. Brock was able to get creative with modifying games and creating new ones. She also raised over $500 for the American Heart Association through organizing our campus' Kids Heart Challenge.

Ms. Brock is also a dedicated mother and police wife. When she is not at school, she is spending time with her family at the park or cooking at home.

February Teacher of the Month:

Tristan Crook | Lebanon Trail High School I CTE Teacher

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Triston Crook has worked the past three years at Lebanon Trail High School as a CTE teacher and football/track coach. During his time there, he has had a huge impact on both staff and students. The vision for LTHS is "to lead purposefully in the fearless pursuit of innovation, personal success, and pride in one's self, school and community" and Triston embodies all of these things. His positive rapport with both staff and students is undeniable. You will never see him walk down the hallways without a smile on his face. Just this year, Triston was chosen to teach the Teen Leadership class because of his ability to connect and build strong relationships with students.

On the football field, he has a passion for competition, but also for working with kids and helping them reach their potential. The high expectations and positive energy he brings to the LTHS campus makes Triston an integral asset to the Trail Blazer community. Not only is he an impactful role model and a man of integrity, he is also a loving husband to his wife, Tiffany, and great father to his daughter, Nina.

January Teacher of the Month:

Merjournie Muskin | North Dallas High School

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Ms. Muskin is in her second year as an educator, here at North Dallas High School. She has yet to have what we used to consider a normal school year. Just as we left for virtual learning last year, Ms. Muskin had her first child. She hurriedly returned to work early, working from home with a newborn, when she saw her student's engagement dropping. This school year she has cheerfully weathered moving classrooms and a myriad of additional duties. When she saw that her students were having challenges with virtual learning, she opened her physical classroom and zoom after hours for tutoring time over and beyond. She continues to try new and exciting ways to engage her students who are predominantly freshman high schoolers. Virtual learning has been a challenge for all teachers, but Ms. Muskin has never let it stop her from trying to reach the unique needs of our campus' students.

December Teacher of the Month:

Shelly Thibodaux | Robert T. Hill Middle School

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Shelly Thibodaux is a physical education and athletic coordinator at Robert T. Hill Middle School in Dallas ISD. She started teaching nearly 40 years ago and has received numerous awards in the past few years, with Teacher of the Year at her campus being the highlight of her accolades thus far this year.Coach Thibodaux truly puts her students and school community first, as evidenced by her many community outreach efforts. She secured back to school supplies, back packs and iPads for Dallas ISD students through Nancy Lieberman Charities in 2017; partnered with former Dallas Cowboy Kavon Frazier to provide Thanksgiving meals to students in 2018, and introduced the Partner P.E. program for students with disabilities in 2019. She was recently featured in the Lakewood Advocate Magazine as a Top Teacher for her coaching during COVID. Thibodaux, like many teachers, was challenged in keeping students healthy and active this year due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, she was able to keep her students engaged by helping Dallas ISD create forty, 30-minute workout videos for elementary, middle and high school students. In addition, she applied for and received a $2,000 COVID Emergency Funding grant for her school through the GENYOUth Foundation and Fuel Up to Play 60 program to assist with curbside meals. As a Program Advisor for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program for the past 10 years, Thibodaux has received multiple grants and awards. In addition to all of her school duties, she sponsors a Girl Scouts Club after school.

November Teacher of the Month:

Cathy May | Newman Elementary School

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Mrs. May has always displayed an extensive amount of knowledge, competence, experience, and passion for teaching children. It is evident that Cathy loves working with children from her countless stories to her celebrations related to student growth. She demonstrates a sincere interest in her students and is always compassionate towards their individual needs. She exhibits a growth mindset daily by seeking additional ideas on how to best support the diverse learners within her classroom from specialists on our campus. Mrs. May is skilled in implementing innovative teaching practices such as small group instruction, technology applications, and incorporating motivating activities within her lessons. Cathy remains solution minded and comes prepared to all staff development and instructional team leader meetings with ideas, solutions, and is willing to provide the group with feedback from her own experiences.

October Teacher of the Month:

Antonio Young | Ellis Elementary School

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When we called to ask principal Keith Boyd how Antonio was doing he laughed. Boyd said Young was just in his office asking what more he could do. That's the kind of teacher he. That was the case last year when he was a teacher at Dunn Elementary and used his students to put together a Black History Month music video with his students that went viral, appearing on Access Hollywood and getting him recognition in People Magazine. The pandemic didn't slow him down, either. Young, who used to be a journalist, found another way to reach his students with another video that featured his children as well as students and staff at Ellis Elementary. The topic? A video to get kids pumped up for the return to face-to-face instruction. And videos like this aren't what Young does during class time. These are what he does with his free time. In the class, he's easily adapted to virtual instruction and just as easily works with his students who are in class in-person as well as those who are working from home. No pandemic is going to slow him down. He's got to find more to do.

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