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Deb Fleming was named Elementary Teacher of the Year and Joe Watson was named Secondary Teacher of the Year for the Paris Independent School District at the staff recognition reception, an annual event recognizing teaching excellence as well as honoring employees for their years of service. Both will represent Paris ISD as its nominees in the 2015 Region VIII Education Service Center Teacher of the Year competition.
Fostering a passion for community service among her students is one of Deb Fleming’s primary goals. This is reinforced by her belief in what she terms the 5C’s: Community, Challenging, Caring, Curious, and Commitment, which she combines to assist her gifted students in identifying, recognizing, accepting, and utilizing their advanced intellectual curiosities.
After graduating from East Texas State University in 1987, with a Bachelor of Science in Education, a specialization in history, and a kindergarten endorsement, Deb taught 5th grade at Justiss, Texas history at Travis, 1st grade at Aikin, and 5th grade science at Aikin. During this time, she returned to ETSU and earned a Master of Science in Education, with an Earth Science specialization, in 1996. She became the gr. 3-5 Socrates teacher for both Aikin and Justiss in 2007. Currently Deb teaches gr. 5-6 Socrates at Crockett and serves a Future Problem Solving and Community Problem Solving coach.
Deb’s direction as a teacher is encompassed in the following “can” statements: “We must AND CAN provide students with critical thinking abilities and with marketable skills. We must AND CAN discover their natural abilities, their interests, and their passions. We must AND CAN help students find their value.
“The profession of teaching is often misunderstood. Most would consider it one’s choice to become a teacher…. Rather, it’s my belief that individuals are chosen to become teachers; something much more than simply making a career choice. All outstanding teachers have that something extra that makes them special, but no one can determine what that something extra might be. I believe it is our purpose or calling to be teachers.” – Joe Watson
A 1979 graduate of Paris Junior College and a 1982 graduate of East Texas State University, with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, Joe also completed requirements for an Oklahoma teaching certificate and a Texas technology certificate. His post-graduate musical career began as an Assistant Band Director in Paris and later moved to Director of Bands for Hugo (OK) City Schools and Prairiland ISD. In 2007, Joe returned to Paris ISD and currently teaches Technology Applications and Video Broadcasting at PJHS.
Joe has internalized a line from a famous Star Trek character, Mr. Spock, and makes it a point of direction for his educational endeavors – “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” “Unfortunately,” Joe says, “…our culture is oriented to a ‘Me first’ perspective as we plan our day.” He proposes that we “need to attend to Spock’s more logical view that other persons are more important than our person.”