Former student named Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

Grant Simpson teaching a class

Grant Simpson '02, who teaches fourth-graders in Keller ISD, was named the 2007-2008 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Credit: Grant Simpson '02
Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: April 02, 2008

“I never thought the one place I wouldn’t want to leave would be a classroom. I knew something that could make me so happy was too good to pass up.” — Grant Simpson ’02

As a shy guy who found comfort in the classroom, Grant Simpson didn’t always plan on becoming a teacher.

My senior year of high school, I signed up for an educational internship with a fourth-grade teacher. She allowed me to work with troubled students, give spelling tests and teach small groups,” Grant says.

As an introverted person, this was the first place that gave me comfort and put me at ease.”

That one experience paved the way for Grant, who went on to pursue an education degree at Texas A&M University and graduated in 2002, to teach fourth-graders at Hidden Lakes/Keller ISD and Crowley ISD.

That one experience led Grant to where he is today—the Elementary Teacher of the Year for the state of Texas.

As someone who prides himself on being the best teacher in his students’ eyes, Grant incorporates out-of-the-box, valuable activities into his classroom. One of his goals every year is to develop a family/community atmosphere among his students. Students are encouraged to write their after-school activities on a large community calendar, such as choir concerts, sporting events and confirmation notices.

I make a promise to each student who brings me an event that I will attend at least one of their functions,” Grant says.

Grant also created Morning Meetings, a time set aside each day for him and his students to informally go over the daily schedule and set goals for the following day. Students can ask questions, share personal stories or discuss their fears and anxieties.

Being able to discuss anything from Dracula to divorce gives my students a forum for laughs, sorrows, joys and fears,” he adds.

Grant credits the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M with giving him the background and knowledge necessary to make a smooth transition into the classroom. He also was honored with being named Texas Student Teacher of
the Year in 2003.

My greatest learning took place my senior year during my block and student teaching when I was actually in the classroom teaching lessons,” he says.

A humble man, Grant admits that although the award validates his beliefs on the importance of teaching as a field and his abstract style, his goals revolve around his students, school and serving as a role model for future educators. 

There is nothing greater about teaching than building relationships with your students and becoming a part of their lives,” he says. “I know I don’t have all the answers when it comes to teaching, but I do have a passion for what I do. I mean, I get to hang out with and inspire amazing kids each and every day!”