Rachel George, fourth-grade teacher at William B. Travis Elementary, and Eleanor Eckels, Math Interventionist at Marshall Junior High School, have been selected as the 2017 Marshall ISD District Teachers of the Year.
The two educators were officially named and presented during Monday’s Regular Meeting of the Marshall ISD Board of Trustees.
Mrs. George is the 2017 MISD Elementary School Teacher of the Year, while Mrs. Eckels is the 2017 MISD Secondary School Teacher of the Year. Both will serve as MISD’s nominees for Region 7 Teacher of the Year later this summer.
Both Mrs. George and Ms. Eckels were named as their respective Campus Teachers of the Year earlier this spring. A committee of MISD administrators then selected their applications and merits with a rubric scoring system to rank the candidates who applied for District Teacher of the Year to represent MISD in the Region 7 Teacher of the Year process.
Part of the application process included a professional bio written by the nominees. Below is the biographical information each presented.
Elementary Teacher of the Year: Rachel George
As the daughter of two retired Texas teachers, Rachel McCarty George was born into the world of education. In her earliest years, Mrs. George can remember transforming her childhood bedroom into a classroom. She recalls assigning seats to all of her stuffed animals, taking attendance and literally teaching her fluffy friends whatever skills she had learned at school. The closet door became her chalkboard, the shelves on the walls became assigned seating, and her personal home library converted into a school library complete with library cards and in alphabetical order. To say teaching was her calling would be an understatement.
As a teacher, Rachel began her professional career with Marshall ISD in the fall of 2005. It was at this time she began to rethink her participation in a master’s program in clinical psychology, and decided to pursue an alternative certification program at Stephen F. Austin State University. After completing 9-hours of coursework in education and passing the TExES Generalist EC-4 exam, she entered into her first classroom as a second grade teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary. Under the sincere mentorship of Tamala Rodgers, Rachel flourished as a novice teacher.
The summer of 2006 opened new experiences and opportunities for this young teacher. Rachel was offered a third grade G/T teacher position at a magnet school in Kingwood, Texas and also a third grade position in Spring, Texas. Although these opportunities were right in front of her, Rachel turned away the offers and remained loyal to her hometown district of MISD.
In the fall of 2006, Rachel moved into a third grade reading and ELA position. Her repertoire with her students made this an easy transition as she moved up with them. These students are now completing their freshman year in college.
Rachel completed an additional year at Robert E. Lee before transferring to J. H. Moore Elementary as a fourth grade teacher in the fall of 2008. Mrs. George quickly adapted to her brand new team and continued thriving under the leadership of her principal, Shelley Yates. Mrs. Yates saw Mrs. George’s ambitious spirit and enthusiastic desire to move in the world of education. That fall she asked Rachel to become part of a leadership cohort at the University of Texas. Throughout the school year and into the following summer, Mrs. Yates and Mrs. George completed over 40-hours of leadership training together.
After four years at JHM, Rachel transferred to David Crockett Elementary as a fourth grade teacher in the fall of 2015. After an unforeseen accident, she was forced to take a temporary leave of absence from education. While recovering her health, she successfully completed her second masters at Texas A&M at Texarkana. With this masters in Educational Leadership and restored health, Mrs. George was ready to step back into the world of education. First as a personal assistant to educator phenomenon, Dr. Elaine Wilmore, then as graduate assistant at Texas A&M Texarkana and finally as the facilitator at Trinity Episcopal School of Marshall. Missing the impact she left on the lives of students across Marshall ISD, Mrs. George returned to MISD as a second grade teacher at William B. Travis Elementary in the fall of 2016. Since her return, Mrs. George has received numerous awards for her excellence in teaching. The first recognition in March as she was named MISD Staff Member of the Week. The campuses across MISD announced campus Teachers of the Year, and she proudly represented her elementary campus William B. Travis. The most humbling and touching honor Mrs. George has recently received is an invitation to the Top 10 Percent Banquet. While at this banquet she was named an influential teacher to a former student she taught at J.H. Moore nine years ago.
Mrs. George continues to excel in her professional career, she looks forward to moving into an administrative role in the near future.
Secondary School Teacher of the Year: Eleanor Eckels
Eleanor Eckels has been teaching for three years, even though her experience began many years ago. Before transitioning into the public school setting, she taught coping skills and conveyed therapeutic techniques to develop treatment plans for clients diagnosed with mental health disorders. Ms. Eckels’ undergraduate studies in Sociology supported her in receiving her Masters of Art in Counseling and passing the National Counseling Exam to eventually obtain the title of Licensed Professional Counselor.
Through these experiences, becoming a special education teacher to current interventionist aligned successfully. Ms. Eckels serves on the Response to Intervention team, assisting fellow teachers with developing behavioral and academic interventions and continues to promote growth by meeting students where they are.
Ms. Eckels holds a bachelor of science from Texas A&M University-Commerce as well as a masters of art in counseling from East Texas Baptist University.