Jeannette Bray Named Elementary Teacher of the Year for Castleberry ISD

Jeannette Bray Named Elementary Teacher of the Year for Castleberry ISD
Posted on 05/24/2023
Elementary Teacher of the Year, Ms. Jeannette Bray

Jeannette Bray, a first grade bilingual teacher at A.V. Cato Elementary, is Castleberry ISD's 2023 Elementary Teacher of the Year. With her extensive educational background and passion for teaching, she has made a lasting impact on her students, colleagues, and community. Her commitment to creating a safe and engaging learning environment, advocating for her students' needs, and fostering strong relationships sets her apart as an exemplary educator. As Castleberry ISD’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, Bray will advance to the regional level where one elementary teacher in Region XI will be named Region XI Teacher of the Year.

Bray holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a minor in education from Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. She recently continued her educational growth by obtaining a Master of Reading from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2022. Her commitment to ongoing professional learning ensures she continues to be up-to-date with the latest researched-based best practices, allowing her to provide her students with the highest quality education.

In 2016, Bray was named Teacher of the Year for A.V. Cato and Castleberry ISD, a testament to her exceptional teaching skills and dedication to her students' success. She actively contributes to various district decision-making groups, such as the literacy framework committee and District Education Improvement Committee (DEIC), where she utilizes her expertise to shape educational practices and policies.

Bray is known for her student-centered approach to teaching. She plans rigorous thematic units that offer choices for her students, encouraging their active engagement and fostering a sense of ownership in their learning. By purposefully designing discussions based on higher-order questions in a safe environment, she empowers her students to take risks and share their thoughts and ideas confidently.

When entering Bray's classroom, visitors are immersed in a vibrant and dynamic learning environment where students are actively engaged in station activities that promote critical thinking and creativity. From reading books about time in different languages to creating authentic books and using higher-order thinking skills to design schedules, Bray ensures her students are challenged and supported through graphic organizers, examples, and differentiated instruction.

Bray explains, “I make sure that they [students] are given various opportunities to demonstrate their strengths and feel confident with the content.” Through hands-on activities, the integration of technology, and collaborative learning, she effectively caters to diverse learning styles, enabling her students to grasp challenging concepts.

Bray establishes trust and open lines of communication with her students and their families, which creates a safe and nurturing space where her students can thrive. “My class[room] was truly the safe home away from home,” she said.

Bray believes in the power of parent involvement in education. By actively engaging parents and valuing their expertise, she addresses individual learning needs more effectively. She shares, "Displaying vulnerability allowed my students and parents to form a closer bond. We've achieved a new level of trust." Bray's approach has sparked deeper conversations, with parents going the extra mile and listening more intently.

Jeannette Bray's dedication to her students and passion for teaching make her an exceptional educator. Her commitment to creating a dynamic and inclusive learning environment, advocating for her students' needs, and fostering strong relationships with students and parents exemplify her outstanding qualities as an Elementary Teacher of the Year. Bray's impact reaches far beyond her classroom, inspiring her students to become lifelong learners, advocates for themselves, and leaders in their communities.