Irving ISD welcomed nearly 330 new teachers to its ranks during the 62nd annual Back-To-School Luncheon presented in the Nimitz High School cafeteria on Wednesday, Aug. 2.
New teachers and professionals joined the staffs of every Irving elementary, middle and high school. They were welcomed to the district by members of the city council, school board, fellow teachers, and Superintendent, Dr. Jose Parra.
“I can give all of you, as new staff members, the assurance that we will give you the support that you want, the feedback you deserve, and the students that you’re going to come to love,” Parra said. “Our kids will give you more than you could ever dream they could, if you give them that first. I think that’s the amazing thing about our students and our school district. They appreciate the smallest kindness and will always give you more than you think they can, if they think you care about them in the least.”
The event was sponsored by Michaels’. The company gave all the incoming teachers gift cards to help prepare their classrooms for the school year. The district also gave out its annual “Spirit Award” for the group with the most school spirit. This year’s recipients will be teaching at Britain Elementary School.
For many of these teachers, Irving ISD classrooms will be their first teaching positions. Emily Hartwig will be teaching 7th grade humanities at Ladybird Johnson Middle School. From a family of educators, Hartwig is looking forward to teaching in the same school district her father taught in years ago.
“Both of my parents are teachers and I’ve always been around education,” Hartwig said. “One day, I just started thinking about what I really wanted to do, and I liked helping kids, so that’s kind of where I landed. My dad actually taught for Irving ISD for 13 years. He loved it. He felt like they really backed new teachers and they make sure that they provide the resources to build teachers. Coming in as a new teacher, I wanted somewhere that would provide the resources and support me along the way. That’s why I chose Irving ISD.”
Hartwig enjoys teaching middle school students in particular, because she believes they are at an age where their teachers can really make a difference to their futures.
“I feel like they’re at a point where they’re starting to look towards the future and looking towards what they want to do as a career,” Hartwig said. “I feel like I can really help lead them down whatever path they choose and let them know that they can succeed however they want to with whatever path they choose.”
Incoming teacher, Jeremiah Fincher, has taught 6th through 8th grade for the last eight years. This year, he will be teaching Texas History, World History and PE at Ladybird Johnson Middle School.
“My whole family were pretty much educators: my grandparents, my mom, my sister, aunts, uncles,” Fincher said. “It’s basically what I’ve wanted to do my whole life.
“Irving is very unique. It’s in a big area and is a big town, but it’s really got a small city vibe to it.”
Jordan Schneider, another first-time teacher, will be teaching 8th grade English, language arts and reading at Crockett Middle School.
“I worked with youth in a really poor community and saw how teachers treated their students,” Schneider said. “It just wasn’t a really good environment, and I realized the students needed somebody who cared about them. It was too late for me to change my major, so I decided I was going to get my alternate certification, because I can’t complain about something if I don’t do something about it.”