Meet Our “Teachers of the Year”

Mar 11, 2021

Our schools are at the heart of our growing community. And within all three – Philip Simmons Elementary, Middle and High – are dedicated educators committed to motivating and engaging their students and ensuring the next generations are getting everything they need in order to thrive. Three of these incredible educators were recently recognized as “Teachers of the Year” by their schools and colleagues, which is an honor in any year but one that feels even more relevant right now.

 Angela Hobbs
Angela Hobbs is a Pre-K teacher at Philip Simmons Elementary who has the joy of teaching 20 four-year-olds each day as they sing, dance and participate in small group activities that help prepare the children for kindergarten. As a teacher for 28 years, Angela has experienced a lot in the classroom but says teaching during the pandemic has been the most difficult challenge. To stay positive, she encourages herself and her co-workers to find the joy in each of their students and to “celebrate everything you can!”

Julie Creel
Julie Creel is a fifth-grade English & Language Arts teacher at Philip Simmons Middle School. “One of my favorite things about teaching is the ‘light bulb moment’ that all teachers know about. It is so rewarding when you have worked with a student on a skill or concept and the student finally gets it! You can see the excitement in the student’s eyes. It makes me feel so proud when this happens.” For Julie, the biggest challenge for teachers this year has been to step out of their comfort zones and implement new approaches to meet the needs of students.

“We are continuing to do extraordinary things during this unique time. We are figuring out innovative ways to reach our students that sometimes calls for us to do things differently than we have ever done before.”

 Jackie Lyden
Jackie Lyden, a Chemistry teacher and Science Department Chairperson at Philip Simmons High School, encourages her students each day through hands-on activities. Her motto is “if you aren’t doing labs when learning chemistry, then you aren’t really learning chemistry.” The best part of teaching for Jackie is seeing her students get excited about science. “It makes my day when they finally make connections about something we covered in lecture and they see it happening in a lab.”

 With new families moving into our first neighborhood almost daily, we’re thrilled that their children will have the opportunity to learn from such incredible teachers like Angela Hobbs, Julie Creel and Jackie Lyden. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!