TRTF 2019 Beginning Teacher Scholarship Recipients Announced!

This the third year that we are hosting our Beginning Teacher Scholarship program. In 2016, TRTF created this program to reward students who have completed their education and are entering the classroom for the first time.

The scholarship reimburses applicants for certification tests and provides funds to help new teachers purchase materials for their first classroom. This year, we received 40 scholarship applications and are awarding twenty-one $750 scholarships.

Since 2008, TRTF has provided $60,000 in student scholarships for future teachers and $33,750 for educators entering the classroom for their very first time, helping 120 college students and 45 first-year teachers.


Amber Peterson is related to Karen Peterson of Ingleside, a member of the San Patricio County RTA. Amber will soon graduate from Angelo State University. She believes children “need to feel loved and be excited about school.”

Ashley Myers is related to Elsie Myers, a member of the Jackson County RSP. A Texas Lutheran University math major, Ashley is also on the women’s track and field team and currently works three part-time jobs in addition to being a full-time student.

Bailey Beck, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, is related to Don Beck, an at-large member from Baytown. Bailey, who once worked at TRTA as an intern, would love to teach kindergarten and promote higher level thinking and play in her students.

Brittany Thompson is an English major at Texas State University in San Marcos and is related to Herma Lathon of the North Harris County ARSP. She hopes to incorporate technology into her classroom.

Cadi Stafford is related to Vera Jeanie Jackson of Conroe and attends Texas A&M Texarkana. She will user her funds to purchase several ELA learning stations geared towards spelling, comprehension, fluency, writing, and listening for her first classroom.

Emily Dyes is an Interdisciplinary Agriculture major at Texas Tech. Related to Ursula Stephens of the Katy Area Retired Educators, Emily will teach her students how to weld, wire electrical circuits, woodwork, care for livestock, and much more!

Emma Weems is related to Marcia Reagan, a member of the Montgomery County ARSP. Emma will include a Growing Tree in her classroom where her students can place leaves anytime they feel they have learned something new.

Emmelynn Junek attends the University of Houston at Victoria and is related to Felesa Baker of the Fort Bend County REA. As a reading interventionist and special education teacher, she plans to have a class library with physical as well as audio books.

Kaytlyn Boyett is related to Juanita Darlene Boyett of the Wichita Falls Area ARSP. She will implement project-based learning in her classroom to improve student retention of material.

Kelci Isham is related to Tommy Isham, an at-large member from Haslet. The Stephen F. Austin State University student believes small changes such as materials and lighting, can have a huge impact on student success.

Kristin Pavliska, a Texas A&M University student, is related to Lynette Hruzek of the Lavaca County RTA. She will teach in a way that is very student centered and allows flexibility in student learning.

Mary Cass is related to Katherine Cass of the Lamar-Delta RSEA. The Tarleton State University student will use hands-on learning to help her agriculture students do projects such as making 3D models of skeletal systems using pasta noodles.

Megan Morant is related to Lynne Dozier, a member of Klein ARE. Megan believes every student should enter her classroom with a promise and exit with a purpose.

Megan Proulx is related to Donna Proulx, an at-large member from Spring. After attending the University of Houston, she will promote her students’ curiosity by using inquiry-based lessons and exploration stations.

Payton Morris is related to Baytown Area RSEA member Barbara Sultis. The Texas A&M University graduate will create a code of conduct with her students and will include word walls and anchor charts in her classroom.

Rachel Stewart is related to Vicki Stewart of the Arlington RSEA and attends Stephen F. Austin State University. While attending school, she has participated in Big Jacks, where college students are paired with local, at-risk, elementary school children.

Rikki Bodin, a Lamar University student, is related to Odette Hill of the Mid-Jefferson County RSP. She started an extracurricular art club on campus which allowed students to paint murals in the community and in local schools.

Sara Bearden is a recent graduate of Wayland Baptist University. She is related to at-large member Joanna Warren of Shallowater. She will incorporate flexible seating in her first classroom.

Seth Owen is an Exercise Sports Science major at Howard Payne University and is related to Elizabeth Ellis of the Brown County RTA. He wants to be a teacher because in no other profession does a person have the ability to reach out to the future!

Shalee Bennett is related to Linda Murphree of the Plainview Area RSPA. Shalee comes from a family of educators, including her mom, two aunts and two cousins. She believes all teachers are also lifelong learners.

Shelby Simms is related to Northeast Harris County REA member Danny Simms. The Abilene Christian University student and music major believes including students with a range of abilities and backgrounds in every classroom creates a dynamic culture to facilitate empathy and real-world problem-solving to encourage students to take on a sensitive and mindful worldview.