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Metz Elementary Teacher Named 2011 Teacher of the Year

Metz Elementary School Teacher Caroline Sweet was named Austin's 2011 Teacher of the Year at the 16th Annual Austin Partners in Education 'Salute' to Educators Reception Wednesday.

Ms. Sweet is a fourth grade bilingual teacher at Metz Elementary School. "I didn't mean to be a teacher," she says, having earned a degree in Journalism and working as a television news reporter in Missouri. However, a volunteer stint at a center for Latino immigrants opened her eyes to the satisfaction of helping children overcome language roadblocks and achieve great things. "The need for bilingual education became so apparent to me," she says. "How could a child be asked to participate every day in a school that does not value the child's home language and culture?" Feeling obligated to using her Spanish language skills, she entered the teaching profession through the alternative certification program, and has been at Metz Elementary for six years.

Other finalists for the honor were:

  • David Bellesen, High School Teacher of the Year, the Audio and Video Production teacher at Travis High School, and
  • Kim Ross, Middle School Teacher of the Year, a Language Arts teacher at Dobie Middle School.

These three Austin Teachers of the Year for their respective grade levels were selected from more than 100 nominees at schools chosen at the campus and grade levels by colleagues and by selection committees composed of administrators, parents, and professional association representatives.