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LeAnn Dowdy was recently announced as the 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year at East Ridge Elementary for Sweetwater ISD (Independent School District).
She is a second grade teacher at the school and has been with the district for two years. Dowdy has been teaching for a total of fifteen years; she earned her Bachelor of Science degree through Abilene Christian University and Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Since 1997, Dowdy has joined a number of associations. She was a member of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association for three years and has been a member of the Parent Teacher Organization for the past fifteen years.
In 2000, she joined the Association of Texas Professional Educators, where she continues her involvement. Last year in 2011, she joined the Texas Section of American Association of Physics Teachers.
Her involvement in community activities is also varied. For three years starting in 1994, she was a director and establisher of a free Christian preschool. From 1996 to 2000, she was also the director of the Community Ballpark concession stand, and until 2010 she participated in various fundraisers for a decade.
In 2004, she became a high school church youth leader through 2010. She was a Little Dribblers girls' basketball coach in 2005; that same year she also became a 21st Century tutor for Communities in Schools and was involved with the program for five years.
Dowdy was also a youth leader for a mission trip to Mexico in 2008. Since 2011, she has been a sponsor for ACU Education students who attend the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching.
In 2012, she became a member of the Highland Church of Christ. Her professional awards include the Golden Apple Teacher award for Outstanding Teaching Excellence in 2010.
Dowdy says that she became a teacher because of the joy that comes from "making a difference in the lives of children".
"I also wanted the added benefit of not only spending time with the community's young children," added Dowdy, "but with my own three children when they were growing up."
She understands the high responsibility she has upon walking into her classroom daily, noting the "moral obligation" of helping each student solely meet their "highest possible outcome".
"My function as a teacher encompasses obtaining the most out of each student every day. Thus, I maximize the positive benefits that naturally come along with any self-fulfilling prophecy; with dedication, consistency, and diligence, my students rise to the occasion."
She notes that each day, she raises the bar in bringing "an open mind, a positive attitude, and high expectations" to her classroom. Not only will her students benefit, she says, but also the community as she brings "consistency, perseverance, and compassion" to her profession.
And at the end of each school day, Dowdy hopes that she has inspired and encouraged strong character qualities in her students.
"It is incredibly fulfilling to know that I may have or will teach a future educator, president, doctor, or lawyer," Dowdy expressed. "I truly feel that teachers build the future by enabling students to face the real world in a practical way."