With more than 800 of their closest friends and colleagues, Dayton ISD staff filled the Dayton ISD Performance Arts Center to start the new year off with their annual convocation. With messages from a local church leader, school board member, and Dayton ISD administrators, teachers were treated to a fun morning of the past year’s accomplishments, a message for the future, and a motivating speech given by Superintendent Dr. Jessica Johnson.
Local Pastor Ken Davis from Calvary Baptist Church led the staff in prayer and gave a heartfelt “thank you” to all of the teachers and staff, and remarked that as a father of two Dayton ISD students, he could not be more proud to have his children be Broncos. The staff was then treated to remarks from current school board president CD Williams, who started his speech by asking for forgiveness for running over his allotted time to speak. He knew he would be long-winded with the message he wanted to bring to the teachers.
His words of encouragement were heartfelt, humorous, and uplifting. Mr. Williams talked about teaching being a calling and that he was definitely never called to be a teacher. Teachers have a tough job trying to please everyone and having the State place burdensome mandates on school districts. He stated that the School Board “gets it” and that the Dayton ISD Board stands behind its teachers and staff 100 percent. The words given by Mr. Williams were received with rounding applause and a standing ovation by the teachers in the audience.
The teachers and staff were treated next to two speeches by last school year’s Teachers of the Year. Secondary Teacher of the Year Jana Harville, who teaches at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High, delivered words of encouragement, perseverance, and passion for her fellow teachers. Her speech was one of reflection over her educational journey starting at the age of 21 while tutoring math students. Harville gave kudos to several specific teachers who have made an impact upon her life. Her speech was filled with humility, positivity, and appreciation to the DISD family.
Elementary Teacher of the Year Edgar Franco, who teaches at Kimmie Brown Elementary, brought swag to the stage and got everyone involved with the Dayton Bronco cheer. His words were thoughtful, encouraging, and delivered with a passion for his chosen profession. His anecdote of the moment he knew he wanted to be a teacher is a story that is familiar to many teachers: someone poured into them as a student, so they developed a passion to help others be successful.
Superintendent Dr. Jessica Johnson completed the morning’s activities using references from the new Top Gun: Maverick movie and how it held many life lessons that every teacher in the room could take with them and strive for success. Administrators from Dayton ISD created video clips that humorously drove the points home that Dr. Johnson was making from the stage. Her passion for students as well as teachers and staff members in Dayton ISD is very apparent.
The presentation from Dr. Johnson and administrators brought laughter but drove home the point of finding ways to be successful and grow every day. At the end of Johnson’s presentation, the Top Gun Leaders danced and inspired the DISD staff to the Kenny Loggins’ song, “Danger Zone.” Then the morning was topped off by Old River Baptist Church giving delicious red apples to every staff member as they left the Performing Arts Center,
As Dayton ISD starts the 2022-23 school year, big things are ahead. Athletics and band practices have started along with cheer and Dazzler camps. Dayton ISD will hold “Meet the Teacher” on Aug. 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. at each campus. The transportation department will have their “Meet the Driver” night Friday, Aug. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Dayton ISD Student Service Center, located at 307 S. Cleveland St. This time with the transportation department is a great opportunity for parents to meet their child’s bus driver. Meet the Teacher is an opportunity for parents to put a face with their student’s teacher.