Midway’s Krystle Moose regional secondary teacher of the year

From a release by Jennifer Marshall-Higgins

Out of 77 school districts across the 12-county education service area of Region 12, two outstanding educators have been selected for the top teaching award — the 2022 Region 12 Teachers of the Year. Krystle Moos of Midway High School is Secondary Teacher of the Year. James Cook of Cedar Valley Elementary in Killeen ISD is Elementary Teacher of the Year.

“We are extremely proud of these remarkable educators,” said Jerry Maze, Ed.D., executive director of ESC Region 12. “The time and energy they dedicate to their students, their peers, and the profession is truly an inspiration for others to follow.”

Krystle Moos has been teaching for 12 years, currently serving as a chemistry teacher at Midway High. She is also a professional learning community leader anda science fair and science UIL coach. Before joining the Midway Panthers in 2012, she was a teacher for Waco ISD.

“Mrs. Moos is unsurpassed in enthusiasm and motivation,” said Midway ISD Superintendent Dr. George Kazanas. “She is magnetic; the AP Chemistry program has tripled and flourished as students continue to flock to her classroom and excel in AP testing. Beyond academics, Mrs. Moos takes a sincere interest in connecting with each student. I could not ask for more from any educator. She is so deserving of this honor!”

Krystle Moos

The daughter of a science educator, Moos began with a passion for uncovering the science in the world around her. She brings this passion into the classroom through hands-on lab experiments and lessons while building students’ confidence in working through complex concepts. 

Inspired by her growth mindset, Moos emphasizes learning as a life-long process to master difficult topics. She encourages student growth through productive struggle and uses this principle to guide her chemistry lessons. 

Moos creates and uses a positive environment to build relationships with students, help them celebrate small successes, and feel the support necessary to work through assignments. Knowing that students have different learning styles, she provides multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning, emphasizing understanding processes rather than only having correct answers.   

Through these instruction practices, she sees students gain a deeper understanding of the content, motivation increase to solve problems — driving an increase in assessment scores, student engagement, and excitement. 

Much to the credit of Moos, enrollment in advanced-placement chemistry has tripled over four years, with ongoing student-to-student mentorship that extends after high school. AP chemistry is now more diverse than ever before while maintaining AP exam scores above the global and Texas averages. 

The impact she sees through her mentoring and student leadership in STEM and science activities encourages Midway students to keep pushing boundaries within each lesson to continue to inspire students in realizing their full potential.

Moos’s classroom culture encourages scientific inquiry and builds scientific interest, often transcending the classroom, crossing over to other subjects and programs. One example includes a program for students at the high school to mentor intermediate students to develop projects based on science-related issues. 

Another example of her efforts to expand effectiveness across classes and grades includes her role in the growth of the district’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program for high-achieving students from groups underrepresented in college. Moos learned that the program provides benefits for all students in every classroom and worked with the team to develop lesson formats for teachers to use in science classes that would benefit all students. This includes coaching science teachers in strategies, such as developing problem-solving journals and incorporating gallery walks of laboratory reports connecting, writing, collaboration, and reading in the laboratory investigations.

Moos is also a teacher leader for APTeach and works on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification process. From leading worldwide professional development sessions to hosting pre-service teachers in the classroom, she hopes to inspire current and future education leaders and foster a classroom that embraces diversity in learning by celebrating the productive struggle for students.

Moos holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hartwick College and teacher certification in science. She is married to Scott Moos, an engineer at L3. They have three children.

As Region 12 Teachers of the Year, Cook and Moos will serve as nominees for Texas Teacher of the Year, which TASA will announce in mid-August. Also, the Region 12 Superintendent of the Year is Dr. Brandon Hubbard, Superintendent of Chilton ISD.

Jennifer Marshall-Higgins is director of customer & marketing services for the Region 12 Education Service Center.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Midway ISD commencement celebrates seniors’ resilience, success

By Katy Durham

After days of rain, the skies over Panther Stadium cleared just in time for 630 Midway High School seniors to walk across the stage and receive their much-anticipated diplomas. 

Dr. Becky Odajima, director of innovation and learning at Midway High School, presents her son, Grayson, with his diploma at this year’s commencement. (Photo by Traci Marlin)

Family members, friends, teachers, and administrators were eager to share in the excitement of recognizing the Class of 2021 as they crossed the finish line and graduated high school on the evening of Friday, May 28.  

“These students have been dedicated and persisted through tough times,” Midway High School Principal Alison Smith said. “I have enjoyed watching them grow to become strong young adults that are ready to take on the world.”

After Midway ISD was able to hold in-person classes and keep its doors open throughout the entire school year, many of the students who spoke during the ceremony expressed how meaningful it was to gather as a class one final time in celebration of their achievement and the past 13 years of hard work. 

“Tonight is a fantastic evening to have the entire Class of 2021 back together for this finale of their high school careers,” Smith said. “We just thought that the Class of 2020 would be the only group affected by the worldwide pandemic, but I truly feel like the Class of 2021 has persevered through much more.”

After an unpredictable year, the dedication and determination displayed by this year’s group of graduating seniors was highlighted in multiple speeches.

“Life has thrown so much at us so quickly,” Midway High School Valedictorian David Park said as he addressed his classmates. “But that diploma isn’t just validation of your hard work and efforts. It’s also a tremendous testament to your character.”

Midway High School top five graduates (l-r):  Walker Pierce, Codi McMillan, Drew Pinkstaff, Salutatorian Avery Hammond, and Valedictorian David Park. (Photo by Traci Marlin)

Midway High School Salutatorian Avery Hammond also reflected on how navigating high school through a pandemic was no small feat.

“As a class, we learned to be flexible, to be resilient, and to appreciate each moment spent together,” Hammond said. “Although this was not the senior year we expected, it most definitely was a senior year worthwhile.”

Midway ISD Superintendent Dr. George Kazanas noted in his speech that when the Class of 2021 first began high school, no one had any idea they would have to walk through such a historical event during some of their most formative years.

“But I think because of the pandemic, the class of 2021 is more prepared for life than any class that came before them,” Kazanas said. “You are more encouraging, more imaginative, compassionate, and more resilient. This journey has grown and stretched you, and you will not be defined by COVID-19, but you will be known for what you gained from it.”

There was also no shortage of gratitude from the student speakers, who each took time on behalf of their class to express appreciation for the faculty and staff at Midway who supported them throughout their education.

“As we prepare to leave, let us take a moment to remember what Midway has given us,” fifth-ranked graduating senior Walker Pierce said. “From the custodians, to the administrators, to everyone in between, these people have spent their lives in dedication to us and our future success.” 

“Our administrators, counselors, teachers, custodians, and guardians have worked harder than ever to accommodate both in-person and virtual students this year,” Park said. 

The graduation ceremony concluded with a fireworks display in celebration of Midway High School’s newest graduates and their well-deserved success.

“This senior class has provided Panther Nation with so many reasons to be proud,” Smith said.

Katy Durham is a senior journalism student at Baylor University and a communications intern for Midway ISD.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].