On Thursday, January 16, 2014, Austin ISD launched the Thank A Million Teachers program at Anderson High School as a national initiative led by Farmers Insurance to thank every teacher in the country. Principal Donna Houser opened the Thank A Million Teachers event and welcomed two representatives from Farmers Insurance Randy Rice, the Manager of National Education Programs and Jim Swope, Head of Texas Territory. They shared how Farmers developed the Thank A Million Teachers program to provide a venue for teachers to be recognized and to provide opportunities for teachers to pursue National Board Certification.
"We are honored to be here in Austin today to spread the word about 'Thank A Million Teachers' and encourage individuals across this region to share their gratitude for a teacher who has made a difference in their lives,"
Superintendent Meria Carstarphen spoke on behalf of teachers’ contributions and recognitions, highlighted the accomplishment of Austin ISD having 261 active NBCTs working in various roles across the district—more than any other district in the state of Texas and encouraged everyone to participate in Thank a Million Teachers program to show our teachers how much we support them.
National Board Certified Teacher Cindy Hamlin described the reflective process of National Board certification and the impact it has had on seeking “stronger student achievement and stronger student-parent-teacher-community relationships.” The final speaker, Carlos Martinez Cabello, an Anderson IB student, shared his gratitude towards his teacher, Mr. Brendan Phillips, who led him “to gain a greater understanding and fervor for both philosophy and history. As William Arthur Ward once stated “A mediocre teacher tells. A good teacher explains. A superior teacher demonstrates. A great teacher inspires.” The celebration came to a close with a formal introduction to the website and Carlos posting his official thanks onto the live website.
"Most of us have our own stories about how a teacher, or teachers, influenced us. I hope anyone who has ever had a teacher who made a difference in their life will participate in the Thank A Million Teachers program. We invite everyone to show our teachers how much we support them."
- Dr. Meria Carstarphen
All teachers who are thanked on the website are given an opportunity to submit proposals up to $2,500 to pursue National Board certification or to purchase supplies for their classroom if already National Board certified. The community will vote on submitted teacher proposals during March. Grants will be awarded in April.