Top Teachers 2022 – Fort Worth Magazine

You’ve heard it a hundred times: Education is the bedrock of human development.
by
August 31, 2022
2:19 PM
For our kiddos, it’s what can make the difference between success and failure — however you may define it. Education not only gives students the knowledge and life skills necessary to become contributing members of society, but — in addition to solid parenting — it can also serve as the foundation for positive personality traits.
The following 11 educators have elected to devote their lives to the development and progress of others. They’ve taken on the crucial task of teaching not only words in a textbook, but teaching students how to succeed.
Through an online survey, where we asked fellow teachers, school administrators, students, and parents to nominate educators, these 11 teachers stood out as the best in Greater Fort Worth.
Crystal Wise
jill walters
Jill Walters
What do you teach? I teach religion and lead chapel services daily at All Saints’ Episcopal School.
What was your favorite subject in school? English 
What inspired you to become a teacher? I’ve been blessed with wonderful teachers, those who were teachers by profession and those who were teachers in a variety of professions. I love working with students of all ages because they bring so many questions and gifts at each stage. We have the privilege of walking with students and their families through the journeys of growing up and learning about themselves and the world. That requires that we grow as teachers and human beings, too. 
What’s your favorite book? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
What’s your favorite song? “Amazing Grace” 
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … Fort Worth offers a variety of educational opportunities for children. As each school strives for excellence, it raises the bar for every school in Fort Worth. And when every child receives an excellent education, we are better as a community and a country.
Crystal Wise
Jensine Caranto
Jensine Caranto
What do you teach? I teach music for kinder, first, and second grades at Great Hearts Lakeside.
What was your favorite subject in school? In high school, my favorite period was orchestra, but of the academic subjects, I probably enjoyed Spanish the most. 
What inspired you to become a teacher? I really dug my heels against the idea of becoming a music teacher because I wanted to be a professional musician. Most musicians do end up teaching in some capacity, but I wasn’t really looking forward to it. However, in grad school, I took a class on human learning and development with a great professor and realized there’s a real art to teaching well — there’s technique and thoughtfulness and intentionality behind planning a good lesson or even just explaining something well to someone. 
What’s your favorite book? Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
What’s your favorite song? “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers 
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa 
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … That exciting things are happening! Great Hearts is expanding in Fort Worth and Texas and in other states, as well. And the classical education it offers families along with a mission to cultivate the hearts and minds of students is truly revolutionary. We’re striving not only to educate the students’ minds but their hearts and souls as well so our community will be filled with intelligent and compassionate young people that can be lights to the world. 
Crystal Wise
Michael Stephens
Michael Stephens
What do you teach? I teach science, social studies, and health to fifth graders at Tanglewood Elementary.
What was your favorite subject in school? Science when I was young. I loved stories as a child and was always reading multiple books at any given time, but I always made sure to check out a science book from the nonfiction section whenever I visited my elementary school library. That changed a little when I was in high school; I found out that math, English, Latin, and Spanish were cool, too.
What inspired you to become a teacher? I don’t know what it was about Missoula, Montana, but the school system was full of great teachers. Like Mrs. Jensen, my first-grade teacher, who wrote on my report card, “Michael needs a hug every day.” And Mr. Edmonds, my American history teacher. He was the chief historian for the National Guard and had taken thousands of pictures at historic sites where he had worked. He did not need a textbook. Mr. Edmonds brought American history to life through pictures and artifacts.
What’s your favorite book? The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
What’s your favorite song? “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment — and admire them.”– Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … I feel fortunate because I can say that I sincerely love my job. I often tell my students that I wake up and jump out of bed because I get to go to Tanglewood Elementary and work with them. I am proud to be an educator in Fort Worth.
Crystal Wise
Alex Perryman
What do you teach? I teach second grade at Trinity Valley School. I am also the varsity boys volleyball assistant coach and junior varsity baseball coach. 
What was your favorite subject in school? My favorite subject in school is math, which is ironic given that it was my worst subject growing up. When I became an elementary teacher, I wanted to make sure that no student ever felt how I did about math.
What inspired you to become a teacher? I was blessed enough to have some truly incredible educators impact my life from an elementary teacher in Mrs. W who taught me the power of the words, “I can do it,” to my high school principal who made it a point to not only know who you were, but also that you were loved. I knew that I wanted to do something that made a difference in people’s lives, was exciting every day, and did not involve an office cubicle. 
What’s your favorite book? My favorite book that I read with my students every year is the Mother Bruce series by Ryan T. Higgins. 
What’s your favorite song? “Hotel California” by The Eagles
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … We need to continue to nurture and teach the whole child. We have to teach them not only our academic subjects but how to be good people. They are always looking at adults in their lives for examples. We have to show them how to listen to others who have differing opinions than ours. We have to teach them to find their voice and how to use it for positive change. Our students can grow up to change the world, and it is our job to empower them to take on this task.
Crystal Wise
Heather Goldman
Heather Goldman
What do you teach? I teach third grade at Fort Worth Country Day.
What was your favorite subject in school? It’s a toss-up between reading and history. I loved all the books my teachers read to me or had us read. I’ll never forget listening to A Wrinkle in Time. I couldn’t wait until our teacher would read to us again. Reading exposed me to new people, places, and ideas. This is, I guess, why I love history, too. Learning about different cultures, struggles and triumphs, and understanding how our past has influenced how we live today made me excited to learn more. 
What inspired you to become a teacher? I think I was born to be a teacher. My earliest memories are of me playing school with my sister and friends. In college, I was initially going to set the business world on fire. But, after my first economics class, I realized this was not my passion. The second I switched to education, I knew I had found my place. 
What’s your favorite book? The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco 
What’s your favorite song? “Beautiful Day” by U2
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” – Carol Dweck 
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … Nothing about our world has been easy in the last two years. We all had to adjust and reevaluate everything. We have been presented with challenges we never saw coming. So, I focus on the kids and on what they need. I give them love, understanding, expectations, and a little fun. Our challenges are an opportunity to grow and do better for our students.
Crystal Wise
Guadalupe Perez
Guadalupe Perez
What do you teach? I teach third grade bilingual math and science at A.V. Cato Elementary for Castleberry ISD.
What was your favorite subject in school? Definitely math. I loved math since I was little. 
What inspired you to become a teacher? My mother inspired me to become a teacher. She dreamed of becoming a teacher when she was little but did not have the opportunity to even attend high school. Her love for education and her love for her children all inspired me when I returned to college after having my first born and being a single mother. As he approached going to school, I felt a need to set that example of finishing college, but I had originally started college wanting to be an immigration attorney. I wanted to be like my mother — a supportive amazing mother who dedicated all her time to her children and who loved schools to be close to us. I decide to go back to school and change my major to education.
What’s your favorite book? Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
What’s your favorite song? A close tie between Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” and Eli Young’s “Crazy Girl”
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “The greatest gift you can give any child is your love and the ability to believe in themselves.”
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … There are so many more opportunities for students that come from all backgrounds to be successful today than there has ever been. Students have the power to choose what career paths they want to explore at an early age with so many different schools of choice available. This is the best time to be a student.
Crystal Wise
Chad Hannon
Chad Hannon
What do you teach? I teach Texas and U.S. history at iUniversity Prep, a Grapevine-Colleyville virtual academy. 
What was your favorite subject in school? My favorite subject was history, and I owe my passion for the subject to my father. He taught me from an early age to love historic figures and events, and it was his storytelling that inspired me.
What inspired you to become a teacher? Out of college, I took a job in advertising, but the long days of cubicle life did not appeal to me. So, when I really started to think about what was important to me and where I wanted to spend my future, I could only think of one thing, becoming a historian. Teaching seemed like the natural place to do that. Teaching history is the best thing that has ever happened in my professional life. 
What’s your favorite book? The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
What’s your favorite song? “Dixie Flyer” by Randy Newman
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “It could be so wonderful.” – Leslie Benedict referring to Texas in Edna Ferber’s Giant
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … The teachers I have met in my career have been highly motivated to teach their students to the best of their ability. They deeply care about the education and welfare of the young men and women we have the honor of molding into the next generation. 
Crystal Wise
Shelly Cockrum
Shelly Cockrum
What do you teach? I teach sixth grade science at Southwest Christian School.
What’s your alma mater? I have a B.S. in zoology from the University of Oklahoma.
What was your favorite subject in school? English
What inspired you to become a teacher? My high school English teacher, Sherry Vilela.
What’s your favorite book? The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
What’s your favorite song? “Deep As It Is Wide” by Amy Grant
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “You are never too important to be nice to people.”
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … The majority of students will have a desire to learn if they feel safe, cared for, and listened to.
Crystal Wise
Brittney  Ynfante
Brittney  Ynfante
What do you teach? I am the head of the science department at Cassata Catholic High School (CCHS), teaching core disciplines anatomy and physiology, environmental science, physics; electives in art and personal financial literacy, whereby advising the student council.
What was your favorite subject in school? Anatomy and physiology and biology lab integration always fascinated me. However, being a part of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) in high school was not only beneficial for my own personal satisfaction but to carry on the strength of social equality and student learning for years to come. 
What inspired you to become a teacher? To be honest, my intention was to seek a medical career throughout my life, but after some life changes after undergrad and moving back home to Texas, I came across CCHS and a lab opportunity and decided to utilize my intrapersonal skills. Immediately I fell in love with the students, small class sizes, and unconventional teaching methods.
What’s your favorite book? The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt 
What’s your favorite song? “The Scientist” by Coldplay
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle. 
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … In the past, education policymakers thought that quantitative measures like test scores could be used to hold schools accountable for achieving complex educational outcomes. However, what many of them failed to recognize is that relationships between a student and teacher often have the most positive outcome. The students feel safer and more secure, gain confidence, develop more positive connections with peers, and achieve greater academic results. 
Crystal Wise
Tran Nguyen
Tran Nguyen
What do you teach? I teach algebra I and geometry at South Hills High School. 
What was your favorite subject in school? My favorite subjects in school are math and American literature.
What inspired you to become a teacher? Teaching has always been my passion since I was a little girl.  The inspiration comes from my dad and my seventh grade English teacher. 
What’s your favorite book? I don’t have a favorite book, but I do have a favorite poem: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
What’s your favorite song? My favorite song is “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share? “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is … In Fort Worth, our mission is “Preparing all students for success in college, career, and community leadership.” Our vision is “Fort Worth ISD: Igniting in every child a passion for learning.” I do know that we’re always striving to provide our students with the best education they need to succeed in life. 
Sally Boehmer
What do you teach? Third-grade math and science at Old Union Elementary in Southlake.
What was your favorite subject in school? To this day, I still love geometry.  
What inspired you to become a teacher? My mom was a teacher at the intermediate school I attended. Some of my favorite memories as a child were sitting in the back of her classroom watching her. I saw how she made a difference in those kids’ lives, and I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps.  
What’s your favorite book? I’m a sucker for the Harry Potter series.  
What’s your favorite song?  “Touch the Sky” by Hillsong United 
What’s an inspirational quote you would like to share?  “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 
Something I have to say about the state of education in Fort Worth/Texas is …  I think it’s no secret that teaching is hard and has become even more difficult since COVID. We all have hopes that things will go back to “normal.” We have hopes that the testing load will lighten. There is a lot of opportunity for growth in the education world. But my job isn’t to stress kids out about tests or everything that’s added to my plate. My job goes way beyond teaching. My job is to show them they are capable of way more than they think. To teach them they are strong, brave, and loved. To make them feel safe. My job is to foster their love for learning and let them be kids.  
by FWTX staff
August 31, 2022
2:19 PM
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