Tyler ISD’s Department of Student Support Recognizes Employees for Inclusion, Advocacy

Each month the Tyler ISD department of student support awards two district employees with very special recognitions. The “Caught You Being Inclusive” award recognizes employees who go above and beyond to include or create opportunities for students with disabilities. The “Advocacy in Action” award recognizes special education employees specifically who exceed expectations at their campus.

Most recently, special education team members presented the October “Caught You Being Inclusive” award to Clarkston Elementary School Principal Tara Hinton. Clarkston Elementary houses several specialized classrooms and programs including Precision Teaching Classrooms (PTC), Regional Day School Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (RDSPD), Dyslexia and many more. The campus celebrated Deaf Awareness Week in September and integrates American Sign Language in their morning announcements.

“I feel so honored and appreciated that the District acknowledged me for simply doing what I love and being an advocate for all my students,” Mrs. Hinton said. “Clarkston strives to be inclusive and provide a nurturing environment for all students and our number one priority is the overall success of each student. This wouldn’t be possible without our amazing faculty and staff.”

“As a new administrator to Clarkston Elementary School, Mrs. Hinton has exhibited a hands-on approach in supporting all students within an array of instructional settings,” Kathy Robertson, Tyler ISD special education coordinator said. “Mrs. Hinton fully embraces and supports a campus culture supporting learning for all.”

The “Advocacy in Action” recognition was awarded to Valerie Johnson, a special education teacher at Bell Elementary School. As a veteran teacher, she also helps mentor and support new inclusion teachers within the District. 

“Mrs. Johnson’s passion for her students shines as she develops a personal relationship with each student.” Kerry Jackson, Tyler ISD special education coordinator. “She helps students develop strong self-advocacy skills by preparing them for their student-led ARDs and effectively differentiates lessons to meet the needs of each student.”

“It’s such as honor to be recognized in this category,” Mrs. Johnson said. “As a special education teacher, I take pride in my responsibility to speak on behalf of, and support those, who have not yet acquired the skills to advocate for themselves. More importantly, my goal is to teach students the importance of self-advocacy so that they are equipped to lead successful, independent lives despite their disability.”

Congratulations to Mrs. Hinton and Mrs. Johnson. Stay tuned to district social media channels as the department of student support recognizes deserving employees each month. For more information, contact Jennifer Hines at 903-262-1064.  

Members of the department of student support present Tara Hinton with "Caught You Being Inclusive" award.

Members of the department of student support present Valerie Johnson with "Advocacy in Action" award.