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Chamber breakfast event welcomes Rockwall ISD’s new teachers and employees

(ROCKWALL, TX — August 9, 2017) The Rockwall Chamber of Commerce welcomed Rockwall ISD’s new teachers and staff members with a hot breakfast at Rockwall High School on Wednesday, Aug. 9.  Area businesses, city leaders and community members came out to support the school district’s newest employees during the New Teacher and Employee Welcome Breakfast event, as they heard remarks from Superintendent Dr. John “JJ” Villarreal, Bobby Montgomery with presenting sponsor Baylor, Scott & White Medical Center, and keynote speaker Dr. Gordon Taylor.

Dr. Villarreal said the school district added its largest number of new teachers and staff this year, with 103 new teachers and 167 total new employees selected from over 5,000 applicants in the span of 8-12 weeks.

“We’re excited that you’re here. You’re here because of your expertise, experience, work ethic, and personal commitment to students and their families. Rockwall ISD is a family and you are now a part of that family, so congratulations to all of you,” Dr. Villarreal said.

Montgomery encouraged the new teachers to become a person of influence in the lives of their students, to dedicate themselves to their craft by inspiring and engaging students in their learning.

“I think every one of us in this room had maybe one or more of those teachers who really made an impact on us, and made us appreciate and become a lifelong learner. The numerous folks in this room – businesses, city leaders, Rockwall ISD administrative team and school board – they’re all behind you to support you each and every day in the classroom,” Montgomery said.

Dr. Taylor, who serves more than 800,000 public school students in North Texas as executive director of Region 10 Education Service Center in Richardson, used pictures of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team and the gold-medal-winning 2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team in his motivational speech to Rockwall ISD’s newest educators.

“Picture yourself maybe as Madison Kocian, the specialist with nearly perfect talent in one particular skill. Maybe that’s you, maybe you’re that special teacher,” Dr. Taylor said. “Or maybe you’re Gabby Douglas. Are you that veteran, that champion who leads by example, but then steps gracefully and graciously aside so that others take the spotlight? Or perhaps you’re Simone Biles, the tightly-wound powerhouse who exudes confidence on top of amazing ability. Picture yourself on that dream team.”

Dr. Taylor recalled a time when he was a high school principal and a student came into his office one day and told him she was pregnant. She broke down in tears, unsure of what her next step was and uncertain about her future. Dr. Taylor told her he also didn’t know what would happen next for her, but that he was sure of what would not happen: she was not going to drop out of high school. He said together, they would work to make sure that she walked across the stage to receive her diploma. Not only did she graduate high school, she made the President’s List as one of the top of her class in junior college. Later on, Dr. Taylor received a letter in the mail containing a note from that student, which simply read, “Thank you.”

“You may never get that phone call or that note, or know why someone’s thanking you, but you’ll understand that you’ve been called to what I think is the greatest profession in society: taking our young people and making them who they will eventually be,” Dr. Taylor said. “We trust you to do that with our kids. Please take it responsibly, but understand your call because you can do it.”

Following an introduction of the new teachers and staff by Rockwall ISD Chief Academic Officers Dr. Mary Johnson and Dr. Amy Anderson, folks enjoyed a raffle with prizes including a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol courtesy of Congressman John Ratcliffe’s office, Apple watches courtesy of Alliance Bank, and an Apple iPad courtesy of Toyota of Rockwall.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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