Alumna Wins Plano ISD Teaching Award
Lilli Wisler BA’07 is the kind of teacher who knows the names of her students’ pets.
The UT Dallas alumna also attends the children’s sports games and shares stories with them about her own life. It’s all part of building a rapport with students that Wisler believes is critical for learning.
Wisler’s approach has worked so well, the Plano Independent School District recently named her its Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Wisler, who teaches fifth grade at Barron Elementary School, has taught in Plano schools since she graduated from the University cum laude with a degree in interdisciplinary studies from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and earned her teaching certification through the Teacher Development Center.
“Lilli Wisler demonstrates the kind of passion for teaching that we strive to instill in all of our students,” said Dr. Barbara Ashmore, an assistant director at the center. “We are so proud of Lilli for being named the Plano Independent School District’s Elementary Teacher of the Year.”
Wisler said her UT Dallas classes taught her about getting students excited to learn. She said professors shared their own proven ideas such as a “milliliter party” featuring milliliters of Kool-Aid to teach math.
“At UT Dallas, everyone’s really passionate about what they’re teaching,” Wisler said. She said she learned leadership skills at UT Dallas as new member coordinator for her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.
“Lilli Wisler demonstrates the kind of passion for teaching that we strive to instill in all of our students.”
At Barron Elementary, Wisler initiated the idea for Power Friday in which students rotate through fun lessons that each teacher creates for the day. She also initiated Science Field Day, which prepares students for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness science test by going outside for review games, including a science obstacle course, charades and relays.
“Lilli has that special something that you just can’t teach teachers,” said Michele Loper, principal at Barron Elementary School. “She has a natural way about her that inspires her students to want to reach for the stars. Her passion, compassion and creativity make Lilli a phenomenal educator who truly makes a difference in the lives of children.”
Wisler aims to instill in her students a love of learning that will last far beyond fifth grade. She encourages them to consider her alma mater during Barron Elementary’s monthly College Days events and the annual College Week. She even teaches students the Whoosh, the signature sign of Comet spirit.
“I loved UT Dallas. I talk about it all the time with my kids,” Wisler said. “Even at a young age, it’s so important to teach the kids about how college can change your life.”
Jacob Bartok BA‘09 received an Excellence in Elementary Teaching award from the Plano Independent School District for his work with his students at Meadows Elementary School.
Bartok received a degree in interdisciplinary studies from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and earned his teacher certification through the Teacher Development Center. He has taught at Meadows since 2009. He was named the Meadows Beginning Teacher of the Year for the 2009-10 academic year.
In a recommendation letter, Sandra Muzquiz, principal of Meadows Elementary, wrote that Bartok attends students’ sporting events, visits their families at home and tutors children during lunch, recess and after school.
“There is no better champion for each and every child than Jacob Bartok, fifth grade teacher at Meadows Elementary,” Muzquiz wrote. “Mr. Bartok is passionate about ensuring the success for all children; and in return, all of his children have the greatest love and respect for him.”
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