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Killeen, Midway teachers named Region 12 Teachers of the Year

As Region 12 Teachers of the Year, James Cook and Krystle Moos will serve as nominees for Texas Teacher of the Year which will be announced in mid-August.

TEXAS, USA — Two local teachers in two school districts have been named ESC Region 12 Teachers of the Year.

James Cook of Cedar Valley Elementary in Killeen ISD was named Elementary Teacher of the Year and Krystle Moos of Midway High School was named Secondary Teacher of the Year.

"We are extremely proud of these remarkable educators," said Jerry Maze, executive director of ESC Region 12. "The time and energy they dedicate to their students, their peers, and the profession is truly an inspiration for others to follow."

Cook has been teaching for six years, all with Killeen ISD. He has been a fifth-grade math teacher at Cedar Valley Elementary for the last five years and was a Title I teaching aide for a year. Before becoming a teacher, he served 22 years in the U.S. Army. 

After teaching all core subjects, Cook saw a growing need for delivering math content that students could use outside of the classroom. In addition to traditional lessons, he developed and uses a system that teaches financial literacy, budgeting, borrowing and contact litigation. 

Outside of the classroom, Cook works to build strong relationships with his students, attending his students' sporting events, performances and even church services. 

"We applaud the committee for recognizing the enthusiasm for education demonstrated by Mr. James Cook,” said Killeen ISD Superintendent John Craft. “Empowering and educating students while providing quality education and creating innovative learning experiences, Mr. Cook has played a critical role in the lives of his students. We are proud to have him represent Killeen ISD and teachers across the state of Texas during the most challenging year in education."

Killeen ISD Elementary Teacher Named Best In The Region!

🥳🥳🥳 Killeen ISD Elementary Teacher Named Best In The Region! 🎉🎉🎉 Thinking he was taking the stage to deliver words of motivation to principals, Mr. James Cook Jr. was surprised by Superintendent Craft with the news -- the Cedar Valley Elementary School fifth-grade teacher is the Region 12 Education Service Center Elementary Teacher of the Year and will be advancing to state! Help us celebrate Mr. James Cook Jr. and show some love in the comments below! 👇 📣 Read our full story here: www.killeenisd.org/region_12_elementary_teacher_of_the_year . . . #WeAreKISD #TheBestTeachAtKISD

Posted by Killeen Independent School District on Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Meanwhile, Moos has been teaching for 12 years, and currently serves as a chemistry teacher. She also serves as a professional learning community leader and as a science fair and UIL coach. Before joining Midway ISD, she was a teacher for Waco ISD.

Moos brings a passion of uncovering science in the world around her into the classroom through hands-on lab experiments and lessons. She also builds students' confidence in working through complex concepts through productive struggle, helping them celebrate small successes along the way. 

Through these and other practices, Moos sees students gain a deeper understanding of content and increased motivation to solve problems -- driving an increase in test scores, student engagement and excitement. 

Thanks to Moos' work, AP Chemistry enrollment has tripled over four years, with ongoing student-to-student mentorship that extends after high school. AP Chemistry is now more diverse than ever while maintaining AP exam scores above the state and global average. 

“Mrs. Moos is unsurpassed in enthusiasm and motivation,” said Midway ISD Superintendent Dr. George Kazanas. “She is magnetic; the AP Chemistry program has tripled and flourished as students continue to flock to her classroom and excel in AP testing. Beyond academics, Mrs. Moos takes a sincere interest in connecting with each student. I could not ask for more from any educator. She is so deserving of this honor!”

As Region 12 Teachers of the Year, Cook and Moos will serve as nominees for Texas Teacher of the Year which TASA will announce in mid-August. Dr. Brandon Hubbard, superintendent at Chilton ISD, was previously named Region 12 Superintendent of the Year.

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