Dayton ISD Spotlight: First-year teacher embraces challenge of teaching after working in TV news

Dayton ISD teacher Lainie Fritz is in the spotlight this month for a series of articles from the District.

Growing up, everyone has an idea of what they want to be. As young people, most people move out of their parents’ homes with an idea about an incredible career of doing what we believe we are meant to do.  Sometimes that plan works out and sometimes life changes in midstream. This is what happened to Lainie Fritz, the first Dayton ISD educator to be in the spotlight this school year.

Fritz grew up in a home of educators. Her mom was a second-grade teacher for more than 30 years and her father is a successful college head football coach at Tulane University. With Fritz growing up as a “coach’s kid,” it is no surprise that she wanted a career that was rooted in that world. After attending Sam Houston State University (Eat ‘Em Up, Kats!), she pursued a career as a successful sports journalist and eventually an on-air talent in Houston.

With her success as an on-air sports reporter for KPRC, Fritz started the search for a job on the national level, but then life threw a curveball.

When asked about making the change and the timing, Fritz said, “I was in the process of looking for a job on the national level when the quarantine hit. Due to COVID, many networks were slowing down their interview processes, and it gave me lots of time away from the career to reflect on what I really want to do in life and what would make me the happiest. I continued to think about becoming a teacher, which is something I always had a passion for growing up. The thought grew stronger and stronger, and I knew that I needed to make the change! I used an alternate program to get my certification and passed my TeXes exam.” 

An alternative certification program is a way for people that are currently not in education but realize their life’s goals may have changed, and believe they need to be in the classroom. There are many alternative programs in Texas that will assist degreed people in becoming certified teachers.

“Being from a family of educators where it is not only her mom and dad who are in the profession, but her brother who is a coach at Tulane, and all of her aunts and uncles are either coaches or teachers, it is easy to see why being an educator is so important to Fritz. Being an educator is truly a calling, and for Fritz to take on the challenge while the world was fighting a pandemic and everyone was in quarantine mode, is all that more impressive. In order to complete the amount of work that Ms. Fritz had to complete in order to be certified, she had to work many hours each day. She had to be completely bought-in and committed, her father the coach would be very proud,” according to a statement from Dayton ISD.

On being a difference-maker in the community, Fritz had this to say, “My favorite thing about teaching young minds is having the opportunity to witness the unique intelligence and talent of each individual child. Every single child is capable of being successful in school and in life. I cherish the opportunity to recognize and praise their strengths while assisting them in strengthening their weaknesses on the road to becoming their best self.”

“Teaching is a passion, and Fritz has that passion for sure. Being a teacher this year definitely is challenging, but being a first-year teacher during this year of remote learning, social distancing, and all of the other challenges, is extremely taxing and difficult. Ms. Fritz has faced the challenges head-on and is doing a great job,” the DISD statement continues.

With the changes that have come this school year, there are always new challenges. Fritz talked about the challenges that she is facing and the rewards that she is seeing through these times.

“Technology has been the most challenging aspect of this school year. The organization has been a trial and error process, and I could not be more proud of the students and parents for being patient and working hard. I am also extremely grateful for the staff across the district that has worked so very hard to put a good plan in place during this unprecedented time!” The rewards come from hearing that your students that are remote are eager to come back to school. This brings a smile to my face to know that they enjoy school so much that they can’t wait to return. I hope one day soon we are all together in the classroom,” Fritz said.

When asked to name something interesting about herself that she wants the community to know, Fritz said, “I love all sports! I also grew up dancing for over 15 years. I was on the Orange Pride Dance Team at Sam Houston State University and won three National Championships.”

About Dayton ISD Spotlight

“Dayton ISD is full of teachers and administrators that are meeting today’s challenges head-on and are winning with their students. Ms. Fritz is just one shining example of the great teachers that we have in Dayton ISD. Over the following months, we will spotlight teachers that are doing great things in the classroom as teachers, on the court or field as a coach, or as an administrator. It is our desire for our community to know the great people that are in Dayton and the new educators that will be making a difference as Broncos. Dayton ISD is a district with great pride and as our community grows so does that school spirit. It’s always a great day to be a Bronco,” the DISD statement concludes.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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