McMath's Dennae Shirley Wins Jostens 2018 Secondary Teacher of the Year
During Denton Independent School District’s annual celebration of teaching excellence, Mrs. Dennae Shirley was named the overall Jostens Secondary Teacher of the Year. The deaf education teacher from McMath Middle School will represent the district at the Region XI ESC competition.
Mrs. Shirley works exclusively with deaf students in grades 6-8 through direct instruction of English, reading and math as well as support in history, science and math. She has worked in the district for 26 years.
“Being deaf myself, I had to find ways get by, through and over hurdles most people are not even aware exist,” said Mrs. Shirley.
Mrs. Shirley served as Teacher of the Years for McMath previously in 2004 but remained eligible because she did not receive the district honor.
“I have used my life stories to show my students, as well as their parents, though we miss out on things we cannot hear, we can SEE so much more,” said Ms. Shirley.
She credits her parents, who were both educators, for giving her the knowledge and discipline to succeed. She explained that they would spend hours administering speech and hearing lessons alongside vocabulary development.
“My sister, a fierce guardian, inspired me to chase after my dreams,” she said. “As a family, we worked hard. Because of their love, I found the way to my dream.”
Ms. Shirley earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Science Disorders from Texas Woman’s University.
Each elementary and secondary school in the Denton ISD nominates one teacher for teacher of the year. Members of the district's Teachers Communication Committee (TCC) then review the nominees and select one elementary and one secondary teacher to move on to the Region XI Teacher of the Year Competition.
Nominated teachers must have been teaching in the Denton ISD for no less than three consecutive years and not have been nominated as a campus winner for the past five years.
Jostens was named the district’s official partner of the award in 2004 as company officials wanted to recognize all the educators receiving the honor by donating a gold ring to each teacher. In all, Jostens’ contributions to the award are valued at more than $30,000.