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story.lead_photo.caption Johnny Key, commissioner of Education for the Arkansas Department of Education, speaks Thursday at the Texarkana Rotary Clubs' 26th annual Cecil Phillips Teacher Appreciation luncheon at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Texarkana, Texas. At the luncheon, school district superintendents recognized teachers and announced the 2019 district teacher awards.

Texarkana teachers were honored Thursday during the Texarkana Rotary Clubs' 26th Annual Cecil Phillips Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.

Rotary International's theme for 2018-19 is "Rotary: Be the Inspiration" and guest speaker Johnny Key, the commissioner of education for the Arkansas Department of Education built upon that theme and spoke about the teachers who inspired him through his educational career. He also commended Texarkana's teachers on remaining an inspiration in the classroom.

"Our society today is requiring our students to be nimble, where they can go and seek that career option and also seek the college of their choice," he said. "We want them to be ready, engaged, productive citizens. As I heard the descriptions of each of these teachers here today, I know that is what's going on every day in the schools in the Texarkana area. We're not just celebrating you, because when you came up here today, you're representing an army of teachers from your building, your district, your state and your country. You're an inspiration to your students and your colleagues. You inspire the community because this community has made education a priority and celebrate you as teachers. What I would say to you from where I sit at the Department of Education, you inspire me, as well."

Teachers of the Year are as follows:


Liberty-Eylau Independent School District

L-E Early Childhood Center, Jessica Hoover; L-E Elementary, Shakaya Hendricks; L-E Middle School, Connie Green; L-E BAC Campus, Raymond Martinez. Elementary Teacher of the Year, Vickie Davis. Secondary Teacher of the Year, Mende Stiles.


Pleasant Grove Independent School District

PG Elementary School, Rita Rhodes; PG Intermediate School, Venessa Nicklas; PG Middle School, Donna Gibbons; PG High School, Melissa Manning. Teacher of the Year, Donna Gibbons.


Texarkana, Ark., School District

College Hill Elementary, Todd Musgraves; Fairview Elementary, Melissa Arnold; Trice Elementary, Suzanne Weir; Kilpatrick Elementary, Vera Peyton; Union Elementary, Caitlin Love; College Hill Sixth Grade Academy, Shelly Dunn; North Heights Junior High School, Dayton Moore; Arkansas High School, Monica McLelland; Texarkana, Ark. Career and Technological Center, Shannon Hall; Washington Academy Charter School, Kimberly Walker. Teacher of the Year, Juanita Harris.


Texarkana Independent School District

Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center, Tiffany Studebaker; Highland Park Elementary School, Carol Hubbard; Morriss Elementary School, Hilary Stovall; Nash Elementary School, Valerie Tatum; Spring Lake Park Elementary School, Brandi Childs; Theron Jones Early Education Center, Bridget Ivory; Waggoner Creek Elementary School, Kimberlie Starnes; Wake Village Elementary School, Lori Akin; Westlawn Elementary School, Kedrick Jones; Texas Middle School, Debbie Mallett; Texas High School, Jessica Sharp; Academic Alternative High School, Randy Jennings. Elementary Teacher of the Year, Cindy Gore; Secondary Teacher of the Year, Chuck Zach.