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AISD Names James Butler the 2014 Elementary School Teacher of the Year

James Butler is a prekindergarten teacher at Gullett Elementary School. He ensures that the school’s newly formed Pre-K program is up to standard with AISD guidelines and that the program continues to grow and serve as a positive addition to the Gullett community. He has been teaching Pre-K at Gullett since August 2011. Prior to that, he taught at T.A. Brown Barbara Jordan and Winn elementary schools. 

In 2009, Butler volunteered through the nonprofit WorldTeach as a high school math and English teacher in a rural village school, Mangetti Combined School, in Namibia (southern Africa). 

“I am most proud of being able to create and sustain a feeling of community full of trust and love with all of my students and their families no matter their background," Butler said. "From the Title 1 East Austin school where I started teaching, to a rural village in Namibia, to a more affluent school in west Austin where I currently teach, inspiring community in the classroom has remained my goal throughout.”

Butler grew up in inner-city Cleveland in what he described as "an extremely negative atmosphere—my entire childhood was marred by abuse and exposure to drugs and violence. It was not until the age of 10 that I realized that it was possible to receive love and nurturing every day."

He credited Mrs. Allcock, his fifth-grade teacher, for providing this support.

“She was instrumental in showing me how powerful a daily positive role model is in the life of a child," he said. “My teaching and life experience has taught me that no matter where a child comes from or what they’ve experienced, they all deserve teachers who care about educating and caring for them. Every day that I wake up, I aspire to be that type of teacher and to be the positive role model that I did not have as a child.”