Top Notch Teachers

Recent studies have shown that less than one out of three U.S. workers feel that they receive adequate recognition or praise for their work. Further, the two out of three that don’t feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to leave their job within the next year.

Early this school year, I read these statistics about employee recognition and it led me to ask this question: Are we doing enough to let the amazing group of CTE teachers that we have at Hays CISD know that we see the effort they are putting into their work and that we appreciate what they add to our department? My honest answer to the question was “No”, and I began to search for a way that we could highlight the good things that happen every day within our programs.

My research and conversation with our CTE leadership team led to the creation of a weekly “Top Notch Teachers” email which goes out every Wednesday morning to all of the CTE teachers at our two district high schools. Putting the email together is truly a team effort, as the CTE Instructional Coach, Internship Coordinator, Bookkeeper, and I each set aside time on Tuesday afternoon to select at least one teacher from each campus and write a paragraph or two detailing what those teachers have done that was deserving of recognition. To ensure that we don’t leave any teachers out, we maintain a shared Google Sheet with all of our teacher’s names and the dates which they were recognized in “Top Notch Teachers.” The first Top Notch Teachers recognition email went out to our teaching staff on December 6. Many of the teachers in our department responded by congratulating their colleagues and reaching out to me to say thank you for recognizing the work that they and their peers were doing in the classroom.

What we have experienced in the months since we began the weekly Top Notch Teachers recognition is that the recognition teachers have received motivates them, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and helps to make them feel valued for their work. In addition to motivating those teachers who are highlighted in each week’s email, Top Notch Teachers provides incentive and ideas to other teachers on how they can be more successful in their classrooms. The act of putting the spotlight on those who are excelling reinforces the culture of excellence that we are building in our programs and has led to teachers collaborating with one another to enhance the learning environment for our students.


Suzi Mitchell

CTE Director