Three Frenship educators win Beaumont Foundation honors
Three teachers from Frenship Independent School District have won the Beaumont Foundation award this year, taking home not only the honor but a $10,000 check.
Joy Field of Crestview Elementary School, Karen Holt of Frenship Middle School and Courtney Ferguson of Frenship High School were selected in March for the 2012 Newton Excellence in Education Award, given by the Beaumont Foundation.
Each teacher will receive a personalized obelisk, a professional portrait and the check for $10,000 during the Beaumont Foundation’s Foundation’s Gala on May 9.
Field, a fifth-grade science teacher, is in her ninth year of teaching and her sixth year in Frenship.
She works to build relationships with kids and make learning fun with lots of hands-on activities and games.
“My main philosophy is that the kids are going to be more successful if they enjoy the classroom,” Field said. “It kind of helps self-motivate.”
Field said when she was in college and took the elementary classes, she loved science.
“When you first graduate, you take whatever you can get,” Field said.
She began as a first-grade teacher, later moving on to reading. She said although she liked teaching reading, it involved very structured lessons.
“I wanted to be more creative with my teaching,” Field said.
When she got the chance, she moved on to teaching science.
The biggest surprise about teaching, Field said, was there is a lot more to it than what outsiders see.
“We spend so much time with data; it’s very data-driven,” Field said.
She looks a lot at individual kids to ensure they are getting specific concepts and follows up with students who need extra help.
Field said she was very surprised she won a Beaumont award.
“I honestly thought there was no way I would win it. I was very, very surprised,” she said. “I knew the competition was very, very strong.”
With the money, Field said she and her husband, Landon, hope to take their two children on a vacation.
“I think we’re going to go through the south and end up in Florida,” she said. Or they may invest in a new car, she said, noting her children will be driving within a few years.
Although Field attended high school in Plainview, she was a Frenship Tiger from grades seven through 10.
Holt, a teacher in Frenship schools for 41 years, got a call to teach at Frenship while she was finishing up her final year at West Texas State University.
At that time, she said she never even prepared a resume, simply filling out the job application after a school principal called her at school.
So when she was going through the process of applying for the Beaumont awards, she said, “I called Andy Penney and said, ‘I’ve never done a resume,’”
After compiling 41 years of information as part of a resume and application packet, Holt said she enjoyed the process because she got the opportunity to see what she had done through the years.
Holt started out teaching English to eighth-graders, but after a few years, she moved to teaching seventh-graders, where she remains today. She estimates she has taught about 8,000 students over the years, including several children of former students.
Every one of those students were required to memorize “The Road Not Taken,” a poem she said she uses to teach students about choices.
She also regularly presents students with a thought of the day. In recent years, she has poured water on the floor and asked students to put it back into the glass. Her lesson was, “Water and words: Easy to pour, impossible to recover.”
“To me, there’s still a place for the old-fashioned values, and the old-fashioned lessons,” Holt said.
She could have retired 10 years ago, Holt said, but, “I still feel like I have something to give to kids.”
Winning the award validates what she has done with her life, Holt said.
“This is a form of recognition for what I’ve done my whole life,” she said. “This represents an entire lifetime of what I’ve done.”
Her students have been very interested in what she will do with her prize money.
“To the kids, $10,000 is like $10 million,” she said.
She and her husband, Tim, are weighing options of taking a vacation to Branson, Mo., or putting new flooring in their home.
“I think that would be nice. Every time I’d walk through my house, I’d be able to look down and say, ‘That’s what I did with my money,’” Holt said.
One of the sweetest things for Holt about winning the award this year is that Field has also won.
“Joy was one of my seventh-grade students,” Holt said. “I’m so excited to be honored at the same time as one of the kids that I taught.”
Ferguson is finishing up her ninth year as an anatomy and physiology teacher at Frenship High School.
“I think ultimately, my goal is for my kids to have so much fun, they don’t realize they’re learning,” Ferguson said.
One of the biggest surprises about being a teacher was the bad rap that teens get. But she pointed out that her students raised more than $5,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association this year.
“I didn’t have to threaten them, I just had to ask,” Ferguson said.
“I think I always knew I would be a teacher, because I loved school. I think I was surprised how many kids don’t love school,” she said.
Ferguson said she started off as a biology teacher. When she took over the anatomy class, it had seven students whom she taught on her conference period. She now has 168 anatomy students signed up for the 2012-13 school year.
“One of the big factors in that is that the kids went from having to take three sciences to four,” she said.
Ferguson said she was surprised to receive the Beaumont award.
“I was told more veteran teachers got the award. I didn’t know if I would have enough experience,” she said.
The Beaumont Foundation is not just interested in each teacher’s teaching philosophy, but also how the teacher brings the community into the classroom, she said.
“They want to make sure you’re gifing of yourself inside and outside the classroom,” Ferguson said.
You must be logged in to post a comment.