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Elementary and Primary Education
Harris County Department of Education names 2018 Teacher of the Year
News Release
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Teacher of the Year finalists recognized during first-ever recognition ceremony

Harris County Department of Education named Highpoint East teacher JoAnna Lee as the 2018 Teacher of the Year at a special recognition ceremony on May 15. Lee was selected from three Teacher of the Year finalists from HCDE’s schools and will receive $1,000 donated by online learning company Edgenuity.

In its inaugural year, the HCDE Teacher of the Year program recognizes teaching excellence from its Academic and Behavior and Highpoint East campuses. This year’s finalists for Teacher of the Year were Gabrielle Gore Gardner, Academic and Behavior School East; Suzanne Boyd, Academic and Behavior School West; and JoAnna Lee, Highpoint School East. All three finalists were honored at the ceremony surrounded by family, friends and HCDE administrators.

“JoAnna Lee’s dedication to serving at-risk students goes beyond classroom instruction,” said HCDE Superintendent James Colbert, Jr. “HCDE is blessed by her leadership and ability to compassionately meet her students’ needs.”

Lee is a veteran English teacher who nurtures a love of writing and literature in her students. As an experienced educator in the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), she works with teachers new to the DAEP setting to share her experience and passion for teaching at-risk students.

HCDE’s Highpoint School East is a campus for troubled youth in grades 6-12 that offers a safe and highly-structured learning environment, with a low student-to-teacher ratio. Students come to Highpoint on a contract basis through their home school district with the goal of returning to and graduating from their home-district high school.

Read more about Lee’s experience and passion for helping at-risk students at . Find more information about HCDE’s schools at .

Photo: Harris County Department of Education Highpoint East teacher JoAnna Lee holds her plaque after being named HCDE “Teacher of the Year.” Lee teaches at-risk, high school students at a HCDE school for expelled or adjudicated youth.

About Harris County Department of Education:  HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at .

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