Educators Rising to Nationals

Three KISD students moving to national competition
By: Todd Martin
Three Killeen ISD Career Center seniors in the education and training program qualified at state competition to continue on to the national level of competition in a future teacher group called Educators Rising.
Natalia Goodman and Marquetta Waller combined on a project that explored an ethical dilemma that could occur in a classroom setting. Jordan Horace presented her “Educator Rising Moment.”
The national Educators Rising conference is June 22 to 25 in Dallas. The students moved on from regional and state levels, where they finished high enough in their categories to go to the final level.
For Horace, the competition called on her to explain in three minutes why she decided she wanted to be an educator.
She spoke about her personal experiences as a student with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder and how teachers took the time to see in her a gifted student.
As a younger student, she struggled and got in trouble sometimes, but made passing grades. Upon moving to Killeen, teachers began to take a different approach, she said, and put her in talented and gifted environments.
“They could see I was thinking ahead,” Horace said. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher. They motivated me.” She gradually improved to a B student, an A-B student and finally an honor roll student.
At the state competition, Horace actually finished in sixth place, just short of qualifying in the top five. However, after returning home, she found out she qualified when someone else couldn’t make the trip. “Now, I have a chance to improve,” she said.
Goodman and Waller competed in a category called ethical dilemma where they presented to judges their recommendation to solve the problem. The issue centered on how to handle a misbehaving child in a special education environment.
The two Career Center students set up a roundtable discussion among their classmates to collect feedback and prepared a video for the judges showing their ideas to support the teacher and the child through their difficulties, Goodman explained.
“I liked it,” said Waller. “It gave us insight on educators and the hardships that teachers and administrators can go through. We got to work through it and it will help us later in life.”
The pair have worked together before in education competitions and were excited to make it to nationals as seniors. “At state, it was a relief,” Waller said. “We did a lot of work and it was noticed.”
All three of the students have participated in field sites assisting teachers at KISD elementary schools and all three plan to continue to college and pursue careers in teaching.