Amarillo ISD announces Teachers of the Year

Amarillo ISD 2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year is Gayla Martin and Secondary Teacher of the Year is Heather Blythe-Yaws. The honorees were announced at the annual Lamar Lively Teacher of the Year Breakfast, sponsored by Education Credit Union.

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

Campus teachers of the year were accompanied by their school administration to the breakfast. Teachers recognized 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.

This year’s breakfast was an opportunity to acknowledge the level of resilience required of students and their teachers this school year. “All that we have been able to do this year in Amarillo ISD is because of you,” Deputy Superintendent Kevin Phillips told the audience. “You continue to do the right thing, even when it is hard. Thank you for what you do as a teacher and for having the courage to do it in the years 2020 and 2021.”

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.

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 2300 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 2021Teacher 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