As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 8-12, we are honored to recognize the ingenuity, creativity, and care that our 1,900+ incredible KIPP Texas teachers bring to their classrooms each day.
KIPP Texas teachers create classrooms defined by high expectations because they believe in every student’s unlimited potential. With 70% of our teachers identifying as Black, Latine, or Hispanic, our Little KIPPsters are able to see themselves in our teachers as they prepare them to succeed in college and beyond!
As we celebrate all our teachers, we’d like to call special attention to our Distinguished and Master Teachers. Each year, KIPP Texas Teachers are coached and evaluated on the Development & Evaluation Framework. Based on their performance each year, teachers can be eligible to move up the Teacher Career Pathway (TCP). The final two most prestigious stages of the TCP are Stage 4 – Distinguished Teachers and Stage 5 – Master Teachers. Reaching these stages takes years of hard work, a dedication to the teaching craft, and a mindset of continuous growth. This year, KIPP Texas has the honor of recognizing new cohorts of these two groups!
We are so grateful to our educators who work hard every day to help our Little KIPPsters learn and grow. Get to know some of our teachers and new Distinguished and Master Teachers as they share their favorite part of their career and more.
Michelle McNeil is a master teacher, the athletic director and a physical education teacher at KIPP Paseo Prep. She has been teaching for 13 years and this is her ninth year with KIPP Texas-Austin. Ms. McNeil started teaching at KIPP Comunidad in 2014 then moved to KIPP Collegiate in 2018 and has been a Founding teacher at KIPP Paseo since 2020.
“I love building relationships with my students and their families. Since I have started at KIPP I have helped build programs for families to come together and either celebrate fitness together through family fit days at KIPP Communidad or cheer on their child at a sporting event like our new Athletics program at KIPP Paseo Prep and at when I coached at KIPP Collegiate.”
Chris Bethley is a PE teacher and athletic director at KIPP Destiny Middle School. Mr. Bethley has been teaching for four years now this is his second year teaching at KIPP Texas. He was inspired to become a teacher while volunteering at an after-school program with his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. There he discovered he had a passion for developing young minds. Rather than seeing it as work, he saw it as a calling to impact lives on a daily basis.
“The relationships we build with our scholars are what I love most about being an educator. Being able to see them grow academically, mentally, and physically. Knowing I’m bridging a gap and giving them hope that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”
Shelby Watson is a 4th grade distinguished teacher at KIPP CONNECT Primary. Ms. Watson was inspired to become an educator because of her experiences with teachers she had while growing up. She says they encouraged her to follow in their footsteps because of how they consistently challenged her thinking and helped her grow.
“I am motivated BY the students. The joy, determination, and grit that they bring each day, as well as their excitement when the “light bulbs go off,” keeps me energized in this work.”
Andrea Garcia is a 3rd grade ELAR teacher at KIPP Un Mundo Primary. She has been teaching for nine years and has been at KIPP Un Mundo for the past four years. During her first year of teaching Ms. Garcia was inspired by a student named Pedro and he quickly became a part of her “why.” Since then she has been committed to the success of her students.
“The thing I love most about being an educator is watching students grow. It fascinates me the way students can grow from when the walk into my class in August to when they walk out in June.”
We love our teachers and can’t thank them enough for the impact they make on our Little KIPPsters day after day. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for our teacher takeover in our story throughout the week! Join the celebration as we share our teachers’ passion and dedication to the work they do every day for our Little KIPPsters.
If you are interested in joining our Team and Family, you can learn more about teaching at KIPP Texas here.