Anton Bucher

Position: Theatre Teacher

School: Lone Star High School

School District: Frisco ISD

City, State: Frisco, Texas

About the Nominee: Anton Bucher was nominated by Kim Meeks. Mr. Bucher is a new teacher to Lone Star High School this year. Prior to his arrival, he served at Pioneer Heritage Middle School for a very long time.

Mr. Bucher is a "one-of-a-kind" stand-up guy! He has made an impact on so many students, including Ms. Meeks' oldest daughter. He has helped students with "disabilities" believe in themselves, giving them the love and attention they need to thrive and survive. Mr. Bucher has built confidence and self-esteem in thousands of students who may have never had any hope of a future.

He is also a coach for his adopted daughter's volleyball team. Mr. Bucher and his wife adopted her from China, and they also have a son whom they have adopted as well. They gave life to two children who may not otherwise have had a life.

Every year he invites colleagues, past students and their parents on a trip to New York.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="Buchera@friscoisd.org"]

Megan McCutchen-Mitchell

Position: Second Grade Teacher

School: Northside Elementary School

School District: DeSoto ISD

City, State: DeSoto, Texas

About the Nominee: Megan Mitchell makes her students' best interest a top priority in every decision she makes. She builds relationships with everyone connected to her students, and she is constantly looking for new, innovative ways to inspire students and colleagues. Mrs. Mitchell finds ways to give students exposure to all the learning opportunities her community has to offer. Her community involvement began to evolve roughly six years ago, when the decision was made to minimize field trips for students. This was detrimental to students' development; more often than not, it was the only exposure these students would have to actually apply concepts or see concepts being applied in real world settings. Rather than being discouraged, Mrs. Mitchell looked at this as an opportunity to change who she was as a teacher and think outside the box to still be able to provide her students with these learning opportunities and experiences. Mrs. Mitchell researched release waivers, looked for free activities going on in the community and purchased family passes to local museums and the Dallas Arboretum. With the support of her principal and family, she began weekend field trips with small groups of students. The benefits have been priceless, from the learning that occurs in her classroom, to the relationships built with students and parents, and to her development as an educator. Mrs. Mitchell has seen students go from having behavioral problems to getting up and turning the intercom off in her room during dismissal because she was still teaching and they did not want to leave. One year, when she moved to Houston, Ms. Mitchell had students and parents calling her asking her if she would return to take them back to the Dallas Opera in the spring. Over the years, her students have gone to the Perot Museum, Dallas Arboretum and multiple operas where students heard a story in a completely different language and were still able to explain the story elements and break down the plot during intermission. Her students have also attended the Trammell Crow Asian Art Collection, multiple cultural and art festivals, the Dallas Earth Day Expo, the Nasher Sculpture Museum, the Dallas Idea Fest, and the Kids Film Festival. During their trip to the Kids Film Festival, her students met Jason Garrett, Clarice Tinsley and a wonderfully famous musician named Lisa Loeb, who took a personal interest in the students by teaching them to play her guitar.

As a result of the students’ presence at these events, Northside Elementary has been able to organize guest speakers and events on campus. For the last two years, the school has been able to have the Opera in a Suitcase Program visit after school. In April 2016, a poet that opened for Russell Simmons at the Dallas Idea Fest came to speak to students for National Poetry Month. Last spring, Mrs. Mitchell was able to bring in a White House Intern to speak to students about his experience growing up in a south Dallas low income neighborhood. The intern attended Georgetown on full scholarship, which, in turn, allowed him to be able to sit down and watch the World Cup with President Obama.

Mrs. Mitchell recognizes the talents in her students, parents, colleagues and community members. She creates a cohesive environment in which students thrive. A perfect example of this is when she was asked to assist in the growth of our Accelerated Reading Program. She kicked off the program with the slogan “Readers are Leaders.” Each month, Mrs. Mitchell organizes an AR Party for students that achieve their reading goals. The first party she threw in fall 2014 had a total of 26 students meet their goals. The last party had a record 228 students meet their monthly AR reading goal. Because the numbers grew so rapidly, Mrs. Mitchell had to think outside the box again and involve the community to assist in supervising the AR parties. She turned to the Desoto High School Career and Technology Department for student volunteers to assist with the parties. The Criminal Justice Mock Trial Team has shown up every month since November 2015 to assist with the parties and encourage students to keep up the great work. By establishing this relationship with the high school students, Mrs. Mitchell was able to help the district by using these same students at the Elementary Fine Arts and Social Studies “It’s a Small World” program in December 2015 as volunteers.

Finally, Mrs. Mitchell's ability to turn adverse situations into catalysts for personal and professional development is the model that students need to see as proof that problem-solving and resilience is necessary to survive in today’s society. By creating students that have an intrinsic desire to learn and passion for knowledge, Mrs. Mitchell continues to impact the future of education.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="Megan.Mitchell@desotoisd.org"]

Veronica Bravo

Position: Instructional Coach - Math & Science

School: Ebby Halliday Elementary School

School District: Dallas Independent School District

City, State: Dallas, Texas

About the Nominee: Veronica Bravo was nominated by Maria Teresa G. Pedroche, a member of the community. Mrs. Bravo is an inspirational, life-changing bilingual instructional coach and teacher. For the past 16 years, she has provided effective, engaging instruction to students and adults alike. She has inspired students from diverse populations to reach for the stars. She mentors both new and veteran math and science teachers and creates an atmosphere where they can develop their skills. Mrs. Bravo works diligently with leaders in the city of Dallas and the USA by inviting them to get involved in career days and other programs. Her dedication and passion is a win-win for everyone! Highlights of her experience include being a professional development coordinator, instructional coach, instructional mentor to new and veteran teachers, facilitator for community ESL and adult literacy courses, leading the Initiation of New Teachers Training Program, assisting in the development of a Campus Improvement Plan, serving as a workshop presenter for parents and being a bilingual instructor. She has been acknowledged for her dedication and passion to education. Mrs. Bravo is always learning and wanting to help her community. As a result, she is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Education with a specialty in Adult Learning and Workforce. She is a LifeChanger because of her leadership and transformational work in her community.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="Veronica75228@yahoo.com"]

Troy Moses

Position: Coach/Special Ed Teacher

School: Cotton Center High School

School District: Cotton Center Independent School District

City, State: Cotton Center, Texas

About the Nominee: Coach Troy Moses builds trusting relationships with his students. He encourages all students, regardless of their abilities. His students eagerly come to school each day and enjoy his teaching. Every student is important to him and knows they matter to him.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="Troy.moses@cottoncrnyerisd.org"]

Cory Boles

Position: Eighth Grade ELA Teacher

School: Breckenridge Junior High School

School District: Breckenridge ISD

City, State: Breckenridge, Texas

About the Nominee: Cory Boles was nominated by her principal, Mich Etzel. At Breckenridge Junior High (BJH), Ms. Boles is a teacher who epitomizes everything you want a teacher to be. More to the point, she is a teacher you'd want to have, and most certainly, a teacher you'd want for your own children. She makes the students and colleagues she works with better because SHE is in the building. She's a leader who never hesitates to take on any task. She is the epitome of selflessness, and works relentlessly to "grow" her students academically, socially and emotionally.

Ms. Boles is kind. She is kind to students, colleagues, parents and others around her. Her kindness is contagious and makes BJH a better place to be.

Ms. Boles is compassionate. She never fails to show understanding, and she always shows others she is concerned about them. She models compassion for her students and her coworkers in actions and words.

Ms. Boles is empathetic. Empathy is such an essential trait to have in order to develop students and foster relationships with coworkers. With that said, Ms. Boles is able to put herself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

Ms. Boles is positive. Being a positive person is not an easy task. Being a positive teacher can be harder if a teacher faces challenges with limited solutions. However, Ms. Boles always stays positive when it’s tough, and she works diligently to spread positivity. Her laugh is infectious, and she always has a smile on her face.

Ms. Boles is a builder of relationships. Great teachers bridge gaps and build relationships, friendships and a community. Ms. Boles communicates with parents and the community in a way that fosters positive relationships and helps promote students' cognitive growth. Moreover, her classroom is welcoming and student-centered, thus creating a safe haven for her students to learn in.

Ms. Boles inspires. Everyone looks at her and wants to be a better teacher, student or person. She brings out the best in those around her. She uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities and magic right before everyone’s eyes. Ms. Boles inspires students to be their best possible self. She inspires her nominator to be a better educator and a better principal!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="cory.boles@breckenridgeisd.org"]