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Waco ISD announces 2020-2021 District Teachers of the Year

The 2020-2021 Waco ISD Teacher of the Year process began this past December when campuses nominated and selected the teacher that would represent them as their campus’ Outstanding Teacher.  Twenty-five elite educators were selected and will be honored in the Outstanding Teacher Virtual Ceremony to be held May 20.  This select group was then invited to submit an application to be considered for Waco ISD’s district-wide Teacher of the Year.

The announcements for both the elementary and secondary district Teacher of the Year, as well as the Virginia DuPuy First-Year Teachers of the Year, were made May 4 via surprise visits to the respective campuses with district officials, campus staff and honorees in attendance. 

Elementary & Secondary Teachers of the Year

Waco ISD’s 2020-2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year is Lindsey Melancon, a first grade teacher at Bell’s Hill Elementary School.  Melancon has taught for eight years, all of which have been at Bell’s Hill.

When asked to share her thoughts on the teaching profession, Melancon explained, “A successful teacher has to display a level of enthusiasm and passion for what is being taught.  I strongly believe if we can motivate young minds, then we have created life-long learners.”

According to Rebekah Mechell, principal at Bell’s Hill, “Mrs. Melancon goes above and beyond to serve her students, their parents and other staff to create a warm and positive culture.” 

Waco ISD’s 2020-2021 Secondary Teacher of the Year is Lacey Merrifield, a ninth grade Pre-AP biology teacher and also coaches JV softball and freshman volleyball at University High School.  Merrifield has taught for 13 years and has held her current position for the past three.

When asked about her philosophy of teaching, Merrifield said, “I believe in immersive learning that places students in local cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences that can create cross-curricular connections.”

Dr. Ricky Edison, principal at University High School, said, “Coach Merrifield continues to challenge her students daily, and routinely engages the students in rigorous coursework and hands-on projects.  She has so much passion and energy that students just gravitate to her.”   

Melancon and Merrifield will have the opportunity to submit their applications to become the 2022 Region 12 Teacher of the Year.


Lindsey Melancon

Lindsey Melancon, Bell’s Hill Elementary School - Waco ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year

 Lacey Merrifield

Lacey Merrifield, University High School - Waco ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year 


Virginia DuPuy First-Year Teachers of the Year

The Virginia DuPuy First-Year Teacher of the Year award, established by Waco ISD 10 years ago, is given to a “rising star” who is new to the teaching profession.  The award is named in honor of Virginia DuPuy, both a former teacher and former mayor, and one of Waco’s strongest and most well-known education advocates. 

Waco ISD’s 2020-2021 Virginia DuPuy First-Year Elementary Teacher of the Year is Kelly Miah, a third grade teacher at Hillcrest PDS.  Jennifer Lundquist, principal at Hillcrest PDS said, “Mrs. Miah has a passion to motivate students to learn, a drive to give 110% to everything she does and thirst to learn more.” 

Waco ISD’s 2020-2021 Virginia DuPuy First Year Secondary Teacher of the Year is David Gerada, the assistant band director at Cesar Chavez Middle School.  Alonzo McAdoo, principal at Cesar Chavez said, “Mr. Gerada is an incredible teacher at Cesar Chavez whose actions, level of commitment and ability to be here consistently for our students encourages us all to be anchored in student success.”


 Kelly Miah

Kelly Miah, Hillcrest PDS - Virginia DuPuy First-Year Elementary Teacher of the Year

 David Gerada

David Gerada, Cesar Chavez Middle School - Virginia DuPuy First-Year Secondary Teacher of the Year; pictured with Administrative Staff


Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Waco ISD Teachers of the Year!