Every year, Duncanville ISD selects its District Teachers of the Year. The candidates undergo interviews and a rigorous selection process after being chosen by their coworkers as campus teachers of the year. Awards at the district level are given to one teacher from elementary education and one from secondary education.
The 2018 District Teachers of the Year are Vonda Richardson, a teacher at Smith Elementary School, and Chad Fitzgerald, a counselor at Duncanville High School. They were honored along with service award recipients and Spirit of a Champion Honorees at our District Employee Appreciation Event on Thursday, May 24.
Elementary Teacher Enjoys Cheering Students to Success
Vonda Richardson was selected as the 2018 Duncanville ISD Elementary District Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Richardson has 29 years teaching experience. She has been employed by Duncanville ISD for nine years and is currently teaching at Smith Elementary School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in teaching from Sam Houston State University
Ms. Richardson’s personal teaching philosophy revolves around structure. She states expectations and reviews them often. She encourages her students to be independent, self-reliant and productive.
Ms. Richardson also loves being her students’ biggest cheerleader.
“I do believe that all students can learn, and it is my job to find out how each student learns best,” Ms. Richardson said. “Students get high fives, hugs, treats and prizes when they do their best.”
She has an open door policy – parents and grandparents are always welcome in her classroom.
Ms. Richardson’s most rewarding accomplishment has been working on the same campus with a young teacher she mentored as student teacher while she was working at a previous district.
Counselor Shares Passion for Helping At-Risk Students
Chad Fitzgerald was chosen as the 2018 Duncanville ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year.
His educational career spans 28 years beginning as a math teacher in Midland, Texas to his current position as a counselor at Duncanville High School. Mr. Fitzgerald has been employed by Duncanville ISD for 18 years.
Mr. Fitzgerald’s passion is helping at-risk students succeed. He described one of his first jobs teaching students who had not been successful learning Algebra as underclassmen.
“While most thought I got the ‘bottom of the barrel,’ to me, they were my ‘cream of the crop,’” Fitzgerald said. “My kids with discipline issues spoke to me and often voiced their frustration. They trusted me and most importantly, they respected me because they soon realized I was genuine, I valued them and I was available to them almost any time.”
Mr. Fitzgerald earned his Master of Science in Mathematics and Business from West Texas A&M University. He completed his Master of Arts in School Counseling from Amberton University.
‘Fitz,’ as he is known to both coworkers and students, is a passionate Pantherettes basketball fan. His favorite hobby is cooking, especially Mexican food. He is also a talented cake baker and decorator with his own local business.