TRTF: SUPPORTING PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE SCHOOL PERSONNEL.

Beginning Teacher Scholarship Recipients


TRTF's Beginning Teacher Scholarship program reimburses applicants for certification tests and test results, and provides funds to help the applicant purchase materials for his or her classroom during their first year of teaching. TRTF is proud to announce the following scholarship winners for 2020:

Alaina Reiter will receive her teaching certification from Texas Tech University. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association where she volunteers and collaborates with her peers on ways to improve their science teaching. Alaina’s vision for public education is one that includes “differentiation and a safe, comfortable learning environment for all my students.” She aspires to “create a strong classroom community that will encourage students to take risks that will lead them to become independent learners.” Ms. Reiter is related to TRTA member Jill Reiter from Muenster, Texas. 


Allison Cook will receive her teaching certification from Baylor University where she is majoring in Middle Grades Mathematics. Her vision for public education in Texas is “that both academics as well as the personal and professional skills that students learn from being in school and working with each other are focused on equally.” Ms. Cook plans on bringing ideas like academic games and augmented reality to help teach concepts and skills to her students and help them see mathematics via real-life application. Allison is related to TRTA member Cynthia Prater from Crowley, Texas.


Amber Thompson will receive her teaching certification from Texas A&M University – Texarkana and has “dreamed about being a teacher since she was seven years old.” She plans to utilize the scholarship funds for flexible classroom seating, a library, assistive technology for her special education students, cameras for science projects, manipulatives, and storage containers. Amber says, “I will inspire my students to become responsible citizens that will use their knowledge, talents, and morals in society” and wants “their education [to] give them the power to reach for their dreams.” Ms. Thompson is related to TRTA member Gay Stokes from Big Sandy, Texas.


Bailee Burkett is a Mathematics major and will receive her teaching certification from The University of Texas – Permian Basin. Bailee says that she would like to incorporate technology to differentiate the teaching style in her classroom. In addition, she wants to include a “Wall of Fame” where she can showcase student work that is outstanding and also a “Student of the Week” recognition board. Ms. Burkett states that “the primary goal of teachers should be to mold and guide their students into being the future leaders of America.” She is related to TRTA member Velva Hock from Brownfield, Texas.


Bailey Pruett will receive her teaching certification from the University of Houston and plans on becoming a secondary Science teacher. She says her goal as a teacher “is for my students to learn, be empowered, achieve success, lead, be able to dream, and to always be engaged in class.” Bailey says she wants to incorporate cooperative learning into her classroom because it is important for students to learn from their peers. Ms. Pruett is related to TRTA member and TRTF Board Trustee Brenda Ritter of Katy, Texas.


Bethany Martin will graduate with honors from the University of Texas – Arlington in May and hopes to secure a teaching position as an upper elementary grade Language Arts teacher. She wants “each student to learn to love how to read and write.” In her future classroom, Bethany wants to implement a reading café every six weeks where students will visit different places in the classroom and read a short excerpt from a book. “My classroom will be a community where we will all grow together and help build each other up.” Ms. Martin is related to TRTA member Nina Fancher of Wichita Falls, Texas.


Brittany Houle, a Biology major at Concordia University in Austin, Texas, says that her vision for public education in Texas is one that would require “lots of creativity and dedication.” Her plan is to allow students the freedom to express their own creativity in a classroom that is conducive to learning. Ms. Houle believes that integrated technology into her classroom is a vital tool to her students’ learning as well. She is related to TRTA District Presidents Council Vice-Chair Johnie Walker from Hempstead, Texas. 


Caleb Murrile will receive his degree and teaching certification from Texas State University where he is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society for educators. Caleb believes that “public education is a building block for our future leaders to grow intellectually, socially, and physically, and should be treated with respect.” He wants his students to feel welcome and safe in his classroom while enjoying their learning experience. Mr. Murrile is related to TRTA member James Murrile from East Bernard, Texas.


Candance Kubecka will receive her degree in Education and teaching certification from The University of Houston – Victoria. She plans to have an “open-minded, comfortable, and accepting classroom” where students will experience “Fun Fridays,” which will promote team building and problem-solving skills. She is related to TRTA member Dorris Andel from Edna, Texas.  


Chelsie Crow from Burleson, Texas attended West Texas A&M where she majored in Animal Science. Her vision as a teacher is to “mold students into lifelong learners.” She plans on leading by example and showing students that learning is fun. She believes that “relating content information to real-life experiences is extremely important, as students are more likely to retain information if they can relate it to their lives.” Ms. Crow is related to TRTA member Janet Broussard of Longview, Texas.


Heather McDaniel will receive her degree and teaching certification from Texas Tech University where she is a member of the National Honor Society and National Society of Leadership and Success. Ms. McDaniel says, “an important part of teaching is not only teaching content but building relationships with the students.” Her goal as a teacher is “to get to know my students’ personalities, interests, and backgrounds so that they feel valued.” She is related to TRTA member Jeanne Ann Thompson of Spicewood, Texas.


Jaylynn Arias is a Music Education major at Southwestern Assemblies of God University where she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Kappa Lambda Pi honor societies. Her vision for public education in Texas is that “every student be introduced to music in a positive and reinforcing way.” Jaylynn believes her classroom will encourage learning that goes beyond music. “Students will learn how music education can be applied to other subject areas, as well as good citizenship and ensemble work.” Ms. Arias is related to TRTA member Linda Heller from Inez, Texas.


Kiel Pilgrim will receive his degree in Exercise and Sports Science and teaching certification from Texas State University. Kiel says his vision for public education is that “each child will be educated in the way that best suits them, and that starts with teachers having the tools and awareness to identify different learning styles of each individual student.” He plans on embracing new technology and teaching techniques in his classroom, while “not ignoring what has worked in the past.” Mr. Pilgrim is related to Carol Pilgrim of Brady, Texas.


Kimberly Gadberry will receive her teaching certification from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, where she has been on the Dean’s List every semester, as well as a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society for educators. Kimberly sees her future classroom as “collaborative and hands-on,” where her students “challenge themselves to be learners and researchers of new subjects every day.” She will invite different role models from the public into her classroom to speak so her students can learn about their community and be inspired. Kimberly is related to TRTA member Donna Gadberry from Corpus Christi, Texas.


Lindsey Kruger is a Music Education major at Howard Payne University where she is a member of Tau Beta Sigma, a national service band organization, as well as Gamma Beta Phi, a national academic honors organization. She believes “any student can be musical and that it is the teacher’s job to find out what works for them and help them reach success.” Ms. Kruger wants to “provide students with a fun, safe way to express themselves through music and find the connection in its universal language.” She is related to TRTA member Fran Hunt of Cypress, Texas.


Luke Tinius is from Austin and attended the University of North Texas where he majored in Journalism and minored in Spanish. Mr. Tinius is enrolled in the rigorous training of the Region 13 Educator Certification Program and will begin teaching in the fall of 2020. Mr. Tinius states “I believe that I am capable of providing the leadership, guidance and dedication that is needed to shape the next generation.” Luke is related to TRTA member Alma Molleur from Round Rock, Texas.


Natalie Pineda will receive her teaching certification from Texas A&M University – Texarkana where she is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Natalie states that she wants her classroom to be “one that is calm and inviting, allowing for students to feel comfortable to add to the conversations and educational dialogue.” She wants her class to feel like family so that “they are not only invested in their own learning, but also that of their peers.” Ms. Pineda says the scholarship will allow her to furnish her classroom with the proper materials to show her students that learning is fun. She is related to TRTA member Jane Sennikoff of Pittsburg, Texas.


Samuel Burnside will complete his master’s degree in Math Education at The University of Texas – San Antonio. He plans to institute Constructivism in his classroom, where education and acquisition of knowledge are heavily student-based. Mr. Burnside wants to mix Constructivism with traditional teaching methods “so that I can afford my students the opportunities to discover mathematical material on their own, but also guide their thinking when help is needed.” He is related to TRTA member Karen McCormick from Boerne, Texas.


Taylor Parker is an Interdisciplinary Studies major at Texas A&M University where she is part of Sports for Kids, an organization that hosts sporting events for children in the Bryan-College Station area. She says her classroom “will be strongly student-oriented with content that will speak to the interests of the students and will include opportunities for experimentation and discovery.” Ms. Parker is related to TRTA member Pat Brown of Tyler, Texas.


Vanessa Pena will receive her degree and teaching certification from the University of Houston where she was on the Dean’s List every semester. Vanessa, a wife and mother of two, says that she “felt a true calling to become a teacher after volunteering at my children’s elementary school.” She says she hopes to “have a creative classroom where her students feel joy and are not afraid to make mistakes.” She is related to TRTA member Eloise Flores of Tomball, Texas.