(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) If there’s one character on television that Kathy Houston relates to, it’s Abbott Elementary Teacher Barbara Howard.
“I am Barbara,” Houston said. “When you see Barbara, you see me. She’s no nonsense and very structured, but she can be flexible to whomever is in the room.”
Houston has enjoyed watching actress Sheryl Lee Ralph entertain and accumulate awards for her performance as Howard, a longtime educator at a fictional Philadelphia elementary school.
In Cedar Hill ISD, educators often look to Houston for advice and guidance. That’s one reason why Houston’s peers selected her as 2022-2023 Bessie Coleman Teacher of the Year.
“I tell younger teachers to look at their scholars – they’re not who they’ll become,” Houston said. “They should know that the scholars are better than some of the behavior that they show.”
This is Houston’s first time receiving the honor, and she will be eligible for CHISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. That announcement will be made on Thursday, April 20.
“I think it means more to me now,” Houston said. “I’m still as passionate about teaching – even at age 60. My goal is to teach for three more years.”
Houston has worked in Cedar Hill ISD for 25 years and raised two daughters who graduated from the district – Windy McPhaul – an administrative assistant in CHISD’s Business Office and Lauren Houston, who owned L&G Virtual Learning Solutions in Cedar Hill. Houston and her husband, Kerry, have been married for 36 years. They’re the grandparents of two current CHISD scholars.
Houston is a Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher who began her teaching career at Permenter Middle School in the late 1990s.
“I’ve always loved math,” Houston said. “Math makes sense. You don’t have to read between the lines – it’s very logical. Kids are sometimes intimidated by math because teachers tell them you have to get it right the first time, but that’s not true.”
Her days are filled with multiplication, division, fractions, data, medium, mode, range and measurement.
Houston worked in district administration as a math coordinator, mentoring Permenter Math Teacher Barimah Amoo-Asante, who has taught in CHISD since 2006.
Houston returned to the classroom after Bessie Coleman Middle School opened and has worked there ever since.
Before becoming an educator, Houston worked in Mortgage Banking for 11 years.
She was born in California but raised in Dallas. Houston graduated from Wilmer Hutchins High School where one of her classmates was Anthony “Spud” Webb, the 5-foot-6 Atlanta Hawks who won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
Houston has a Bachelor’s Degree from Bishop College and a Master’s Degree from Concordia University.