Conway Public Schools Teachers of the Year

  • Teach spelled with dice CPSD has the most amazing teachers in the state of Arkansas.

    Each year, we honor one teacher from each school who exemplifies the "best of" the teaching profession in our district. After being selected by their school, each nominee is eligible to apply for the Conway District Teacher of the Year. This application process mirrors that for the state Teacher of the Year, and is selected by an independent panel of judges. The Conway Schools District Teacher of the Year is announced at the end of each school year.

    The district Teacher of the Year then goes on to apply for the state title. Our representatives fare very well in the regional and state competitions. We are so proud of our teachers!

    The teachers of the year are recognized here in our district in several different ways. They are part of our annual convocation in August. Their names are added to a plaque displayed in each school lobby, listing all past winners. They are honored before our school board at the September meeting. The local Lions Club also celebrates them with a luncheon for the teachers and their guests. 

Sallie Cone Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Amanda Grantham

Mrs. Grantham is passionate about preschool-aged students and the impact that can be made during these years. She is currently in her sixth year with Conway Public Schools.  All of her teaching experience is with preschool aged students. 

In 2004 Mrs. Grantham completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Southeastern Louisiana University. From 2004-2015, she worked in developmental preschools that provided services to children with special needs.  These years provided Mrs. Grantham with knowledge and experience to use with all students in any setting including sensory accommodations, speech and language knowledge, and collaborating with therapists on how to best meet the needs of a child. 

In 2015, she was hired for a teaching position at Sallie Cone Preschool.  Her desire is for others to realize the value that preschool can have on a student's life. She wants to educate others about the importance of preschool, the social emotional aspect of preschool, and that preschool is simply more than 'just playing all day'.  

Ida Burns Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Amanda Dowdy

Amanda Dowdy is happy to be celebrating her 21st year of teaching in Conway Public Schools. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Reading in 2006. She accepted her first teaching position at Ida Burns Elementary in the fall of 2000 and she has remained at Ida Burns Elementary teaching kindergarten and first grade.

Mrs. Dowdy believes in teaching from the heart and wants her students to know how much they are valued in her classroom and at Ida Burns Elementary. She also wants students to realize the critical role they possess in their individual journeys- that each one of them has the potential to be whatever they choose to be. Mrs. Dowdy believes that through hard work and determination, students can reach their goals.

Mrs. Dowdy lives in Conway with her husband Tracy. She has three grown children and one granddaughter. She enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Woodrow Cummins Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Britney Graham

Mrs. Britney Graham creates a caring community of kindergarten learners. Having a positive relationship with her and with each other helps her students feel like they belong and that everyone is important. Mrs. Graham provides activities that interest children, challenge their skills, and help them love learning.  She pays attention to what her students are interested in, what they already know, and what they might be ready to learn next.  Kindergarten is such an important time in a child’s life and with a knowledgeable, caring teacher, Mrs. Graham’s students have a fun, fair, great place to learn!

Theodore Jones Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Nathan Howse

 Mr. Howse’s own personal experience as a student has led to his innovative, creative, unique teaching style that transcends most people’s idea of what a typical kindergarten classroom looks like and sounds like. As a student, Nathan spent a lot of time being frustrated and never feeling like he excelled in school. School was not fun. He chose to become a teacher so that he could change his own personal perception of education as well as make learning fun for kids that just cannot sit still. 

Nathan’s goal as an educator is to find something that every kid excels in because every student deserves to feel celebrated at school. Students who need kinesthetic learning often find success in his room because their learning styles are similar to Nathan’s. Nathan has served as a mentor to many students who need a male role model. Nathan has a natural ability to make connections with students who struggle academically and emotionally, make them feel valued and important, and you can find a handful of these students hanging out near his classroom every morning just waiting to start their day with his encouragement. 

 

Carolyn Lewis Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Nicole Garrett

Nicole Garrett is a 2nd grade teacher at Carolyn Lewis Elementary.  She graduated from Sacred Heart High School and furthered her education at Arkansas Tech University.  Mrs. Garrett holds a teacher certification in Early Childhood Education  PK - 4 and  Elementary  K - 6.  She has been teaching for 22.5 years. 

Mrs. Garrett has been teaching in the Conway Public School District for the past 15 years.  During her career she has taught fourth grade, first grade and second grade.  The last eleven years years have been spent with her precious 2nd graders. 

Mrs. Garrett resides in Springhill, Arkansas with her husband of 22 years, Ryan, and their three children; Madeline, Matthew, and Molly. 

 

Preston and Florence Mattison Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Angela Haynes

 Mrs. Haynes is married to Dareck Haynes and has two sons, one who attends Conway Junior High and one who attends Conway High School. She has taught in Little Rock, Jacksonville, and Mayflower. She enjoys seeing the joy on little people's faces when they are able to do more than they realize. Mrs. Haynes plans to continue teaching for many years to come. 

Julia Lee Moore Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Betsy Staley

Betsy Staley, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated with her masters degree of Speech-Language Pathology in 2010 from the University of Central Arkansas. Betsy currently works at Julia Lee Moore Elementary School with students who have a wide range of communication needs. Betsy's goal in speech therapy is to help every child access educational achievement.

Ellen Smith Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Julie Turner

Mrs. Turner has taught at Ellen Smith for a total of seven years.  She’s been a kindergarten teacher there for six years and before that she taught second grade there for one year.  Turner received her Master’s Degree in Early Elementary Education from the University of Central Arkansas and is a member of the National Education Association.

Coming from generations of teachers, teaching has always been a calling for Mrs. Turner rather than just a profession.  Despite the challenges that come daily in teaching, her main goal is always to love her students.  Some children come to school broken, anxious, happy, excited, hungry, unloved, dirty, undiagnosed, or abused.  She firmly believes that success in the classroom begins with forming a relationship based on love. Children need to know they are loved before learning can ever happen. The world of education is unpredictable, but the one thing that always stays the same is that students need teachers that care.  Mrs. Turner strives to be that teacher daily.

Jim Stone Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Raven Haynes

Raven Haynes has Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of Central Arkansas and will be graduating with her Educational Specialist Degree from Arkansas State University in December 2021. She taught at Morrilton Primary for seven years as a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher before being hired as the School Counselor at Jim Stone in 2014.

 

Marguerite Vann Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Lindsey Jones

Lindsey Jones is a third grade teacher in Conway, Arkansas and a Conway High School honor graduate. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Education, her Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership, and her Educational Specialist Curriculum Director.

Mrs. Jones has taught third and fourth grade for eleven years at Theodore Jones and Marguerite Vann. If you were to walk into Mrs. Jones’ classroom, you would be greeted by her and her students with a big smile and warm welcome. If you stay a while, you might be treated to music entwined with instruction, possible chanting, and if you’re lucky, you might get to stand on the desk and perform some dance moves or be a superhero for a few seconds. 

Mrs. Jones’ goal is to be exactly who her students need. She is a daily advocate for her students and truly lives out the district motto: Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes.

 

Courtway Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Kaitlyn Ryals

Kaitlyn Ryals has been teaching in the Conway School District for the past three years as a sixth grade math teacher at Bob & Betty Courtway Middle School. She teaches both general education and inclusion students. She is committed to not only bring a positive mindset to her classroom but also to her entire building by being a member of the Sunshine Committee and Positivity Posse. She is entering into her ninth year of teaching with one of those years being a year spent teaching math and science in a small remote village in the bush of Alaska. 

Mrs. Ryals received a Bachelor’s of Science in Middle Level Education from the University of Central Arkansas in 2012. She is certified to teach math, science, and ELA at the middle school level. Mrs. Ryals knows the positive impact that a teacher can have on a student and strives daily to make every student feel safe and welcome. She encourages her students to have a growth mindset in every circumstance and makes sure that students leave her classroom believing that they can be successful.

Ruth Doyle Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Jennifer Seifert

Jennifer graduated with a BSE in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Arkansas. Her first years of teaching were at Mayflower Elementary School, and she taught kindergarten for two and a half years. She returned to teaching twelve years later to Ruth Doyle Middle School, and she has been a fifth-grade math teacher for eight years.

Simon Middle School Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Lora Liddell

Lora Liddell is a resource/inclusion teacher at Simon Middle School with over 5 years of experience in reading, writing and math intervention. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education in Early Elementary Pk-4 and Special Education Pk-12, and a Master of Science in Education in reading K-12 with a Dyslexia endorsement K-12. Liddell began her teaching career in the 1-15 special class at Simon Middle School for three years. She then moved to a resource/inclusion position, teaching reading, writing and math for the past two years. Her first year in that position was a split between Theodore Jones Elementary (Resource) and Simon Middle School. 

Carl Stuart Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Violeta Gomez

Carl Stuart Middle School would like to recognize Ms. Violeta Gomez as the 2021-2022 CSMS Teacher of the Year. Ms. Gomez perfectly embodies the characteristics of an exceptional teacher. She is caring, enthusiastic, and dedicated to the success of her students. She frequently reaches out to make colleagues feel welcomed as part of the team, going out of her way to make sure that they have needed resources for teaching and showing a great desire to mentor our new teachers. Moreover, Ms. Gomez is a huge asset to our team with her dual-language capabilities. Her overall mission is to see students succeed at school and in life, and she truly cares about the emotional and intellectual well-being of all around her. For these reasons and many more, we are excited to honor Ms. Gomez as the CSMS Teacher of the Year.  Congratulations, Mrs. Gomez!

CJHS Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Abbie Dolan

Everyday Ms. Dolan demonstrates her heart for kids through passionate attention to not only rigor, but also differentiated instruction that reaches every child. Ms. Dolan’s passion enhances learning for her students and also makes her a leader in our school. She is an example of a teacher who promotes a school culture of love and caring for all of our students.

CHS Teacher of the Year

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Kim Penn

Kim Penn believes that successful teaching is characterized by not only encouraging students to reach their academic potential but by nurturing the student as a whole. During her eleven years at Conway High School, she has taught multiple levels of chemistry and physics. AP Chemistry and AP Physics 1 have proven to be some of the most challenging yet rewarding and exciting experiences.

Mrs. Penn has received the AAIMS Achievement Award for having the highest number of students pass the AP Chemistry exam in the state for that year. She has always loved science and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Science Education from UCA in 2009. She completed her thesis for the Schedler Honors College on the importance of hands-on learning in the science classroom, part of which was published in the peer reviewed journal The Physics Teacher in December 2010.

Mrs. Penn is grateful to have been selected as the 2022 Conway High School Teacher of the Year.