Katherine Womack.JPG

Katherine Womack

Hoover Elementary sixth grade teacher Katherine Womack knew from the beginning of her childhood that she wanted to be a teacher.

“I used to play teacher and I always wanted to be the teacher, not the student,” she said. “I liked creating a classroom, I liked having rules that I could set forth and I liked that organization. I craved the bureaucracy of it all. I think I really wanted to be a teacher from the very beginning.” 

But it was not until she entered her late teens and early 20s that she saw teaching as a career and how she could pursue it.

Still young in her career, she received the Secondary Teacher of the Year award this year.

“It has been amazing,” she said. “I still have moments where I kind of pinch myself because I don’t feel that it’s real. I know that I’ve carried this passion that I have in my heart with me and my husband reminds me that this passion is why I was chosen for this award, but I still feel utterly grateful. I know that for the continuation of my career, I’m going to be working hard so that I can continue to make those that believe in me proud. I never thought in any point in my life that I would be here. I feel extremely grateful and very blessed.”      

Womack’s principal, Joni Bettis, said Womack is a “very talented” teacher who, though she is only in her second year, “teaches reading as though she is a much more experienced teacher.”

“Mrs. Womack made a switch in content this year from math to reading,” she said in an email.  “She has proven all year long that reading that this was a good move for her, (as) she is a natural at the content area.  I believe her strong belief in building relationships with her students is key to her success.  In addition, Katherine is an extremely hard worker, she has a positive attitude and a willingness to try new things without complaint.  She is compassionate and fair, with her students and is always willing to help and support her colleagues.” 

Womack, a native of Granbury who attended Granbury High School, attended Weatherford College where she completed her basic classes and then transferred to Tarleton State University, where she earned her degree in interdisciplinary studies.

She starts her third year at Hoover this fall. She started off teaching math at the school but then switched to English Language Arts and social studies, which was “a huge confidence booster for me, because it’s my passion. I was able to kind of move into my area of my preferred discipline, so it’s been nice.”

Womack said that what she loves about teaching ELA is that once a teacher imparts that love of reading, “you’re able to get kids to fall in love with learning in general, because it opens the doors in so many other disciplines.” She described how students experience those lightbulb moments that can be magical.

“I think those really start at the base with our reading comprehension,” she said.

With social studies, she teaches that subject in an interconnected way, she said.

“I teach my English language arts and social studies through book clubs,” she said. “So we’ll start studying, say, Europe and we’ll read ‘Behind the Bedroom Wall.’ And we’ll talk about Word War II, we’ll talk about the transition into contemporary societies and how that came about, what that has to mean for us right now, what that implies for our civic duties, and it just gets all kinds of cool conversations started. So I really just want to hear what kids have to say and what they think, and I think those two disciplines allow me to really get to know them academically but as well as personally, too.”

Womack explained how she decided to teach, pointing out she has always been civically inclined. Her husband is a teacher, too, and they both felt a strong pull to be educators, as they both loved learning and school. Her husband teaches science in the sixth grade in Everman ISD.

“I knew I wanted to do something where I got to help,” she said. “I knew I wanted to civically make a difference, and teaching was that avenue where I was able to use my intelligence, my knowledge and those kind of things to empower future generations, and that just enlightenment of our fellow man was something we both felt passionate about. Teaching was one of the avenues that I felt I could pursue and really make a difference in.”     

She describes her teaching style as being more of a facilitator than delegator.

“I have tried to create these experiences where kids are engaged with the content and with each other,” she said. “So I want to create areas where they are able to academically grow, but based on their own process rather than in the product.”

She said conversations, learning, teamwork and socialization are important to her in her teaching.  

Womack said students this past year “made a very large impact on my heart.” She leads with her heart, she said, and she teaches with the conviction of the heart. She said the students were unique in their characteristics, interests and passions. Teachers are still working on getting students acclimated to the classroom setting after coping with the situation caused by the pandemic and being away from the school, she said.

She said she “bawled” on the last day of school because of the relationships she built with students.

“They were just willing to really put the work and the dedication in and they grew so much, and it was a very proud moment for me,” she said.

She said she would not have been nominated for this award had it not been for the people who loved, believed in and supported her. Womack especially appreciates her principal’s support and the help of her teammate at school, Elizabeth Bent, and she loves the support of her husband Dustin and son Caleb.

Azle ISD awards from the past school year (source: AISD):

 

2021-22 Heart of Azle Recipients

  • Teresa Bagwell (Walnut Creek Elementary, Interventionist)
  • Koan Bice (Azle High School, Athletics Groundskeeper)
  • Lori Eagleton (Central Administration, Literacy Specialist)
  • Beverly Easter (Central Administration, Purchasing)
  • Hollee Reed (Central Administration, Intervention Counselor)
  • Lindsay Smith (Azle Junior High, Attendance Clerk)
  • Stephen Smith (Azle High School, Teacher/Coach)
  • Tenille Williams (Azle High School, Teacher/Sponsor)

2021-22 Campus Teachers of the Year

  • Azle High School – Lindsay Blake Williams
  • Azle Junior High – Micah Stotler
  • Forte Junior High – James Terrell Hawkins
  • Azle Elementary – Kira Collins
  • Hoover Elementary – Katherine Womack
  • Cross Timbers Elementary – Charlean Roberts
  • Eagle Heights Elementary – Britney Bowers
  • Liberty Elementary – Angela Cuppett
  • Silver Creek Elementary – Alana Beck
  • Walnut Creek Elementary – Sarah Towb
  • Pre-K Center – Christen Moody

2021-22 Para/Staff Members of the Year

  • Azle High School – Cathy Markham
  • Azle Junior High – Venessa Escoto
  • Forte Junior High – Jennifer Young
  • Azle Elementary – Connie Jones
  • Hoover Elementary – Shaylyn Wise
  • Cross Timbers Elementary – Meleasa Clements
  • Eagle Heights Elementary – Marlene Ross
  • Liberty Elementary – Jeane Boyles
  • Silver Creek Elementary – Chanty O’Gorman
  • Walnut Creek Elementary – Mary Matthews
  • Pre-K Center – Alysha Bratcher
  • DAEP - Jeanette Beam