CHS9 Teacher of the Year chosen for phenomenal work


On Dec. 2, CHS9 special education teacher Erika Chavez, pictured with CHS9 assistant principals Robert Goff, Jessica Lynch and Principal Dr. Cody Koontz, was announced CHS9 Teacher of the Year. Chavez has worked in Coppell ISD for five years, spending the last four at CHS9. Photo courtesy Emily Harrison

Iniya Nathan, CHS9 Editor

On Dec. 2, all 2021-22 CHS9 Teacher of the Year nominees were waiting outside the library for the special announcement. A video began playing, announcing CHS9 special education teacher Erika Chavez as this year’s winner. Her family, which had been hiding in one of the library rooms at the time, came out to surprise her as well.

Other nominees were CHS9 teachers Bill Borowski, Kim Porter, Benjamin Shaw and Krysten Farris. 

“I was not expecting it at all,” Chavez said. “I definitely felt like there were more veteran teachers deserving of the award, so I was completely taken aback.”

Chavez has worked in Coppell ISD for five years, and taught at CHS9 for four of them. She has won other campus-wide awards before, such as Rookie of the Year, but says this one is her greatest accomplishment. Despite her shock at being chosen, her coworkers were not surprised at the announcement.

“I don’t think anyone else was surprised,” CHS9 special education teacher Kara Schmidt said. “[Chavez] is somebody who is very humble. She does this job with care and passion and doesn’t do it for any sort of recognition. There are a lot of teachers on this campus, but she is one of those teachers that [when others] heard her name [being recognized], felt that it was very well deserved.”

CHS9 assistant principal Robert Goff, who is her dean, also has high praise for Chavez’s work in the classroom.

“[Chavez is] phenomenal [at] what she does,” Goff said. “She does a great job of being meticulous and making sure that each kid can be successful. She’s found her niche and she cares about those kids, loves those kids. I’m not surprised in the least.”

Chavez enjoys watching her students learn and become more independent and prepared for the real world, along with building bonds and understanding them on a personal level. According to Schmidt, she was the one who started and put the most effort into the campus’ transitional pathways program.

“I have some of the most incredible students,” Chavez said. “Their milestones are always so special to watch. We celebrate the slightest of accomplishments that to some may seem like easy everyday tasks. Seeing the excitement on their face, seeing them become more independent, is what’s really special to me.” 

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