Long, Grimmett named 2020 Teachers of the Year
Pearland Independent School District teachers Kimberly Long and John Grimmett strive to make a positive impact in students’ lives every day.
Thanks to their dedication to students, Rogers Middle School’s Long and Dawson High School’s Grimmett are the Pearland ISD 2020 Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year.
Elementary Winner: Kimberly Long
Kimberly Long has spent over four decades in education, seventeen of those dedicated to teaching fifth- and sixth-grade students at Pearland ISD.
Long values the lasting connections she has created in and out of the classroom with her students and believes those have made her a better person.
“I have been so lucky to be able to make connections with students from all facets of life which has truly helped me understand my world,” she said. “My students have taught me bravery when facing illness and adversity, patience when facing insurmountable obstacles, kindness for those less fortunate and grit when confronted with failure. I am the lucky one. I have never stopped learning from my students.”
A teacher “by accident”, Long became a third-grade Title 1 teacher’s aide after coming home from attending three semesters as a Recreation and Parks major.
“The few years I spent in that position convinced me that I had accidentally found my calling. So, ‘unfortunately, at the time’ became my best blessing. Teaching has enriched my life with connections to so many souls,” she said.
Now a 6th-grade science teacher with regular, English as a Second Language (ESL) and gifted and talented students, Long stays motivated and inspired by always trying to stay ahead of the game.
“Most of the technology in my classroom today was not in existence when I was a child. That motivates me to know that it is not the facts you might learn about any given subject that is most important but learning how to think and adapt to new situations,” Long said. “To be able to adapt is an important part of life, and I would like to think I have done a good job of teaching my students to be adaptable.”
Long holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education and school administration, both from Midwestern State University.
Secondary Winner: John Grimmett
John Grimmett is the Head Theatre Director at Dawson High School, teaching more than 250 students and directing six different mainstage productions every year. Every day, Grimmett embraces the opportunity to make a positive, long-lasting impact in the lives of his students through the arts.
“Young people walk into my classroom every day with different aspirations, bringing their confused minds, overwhelmed hearts and souls in search of healing,” he says. “Whether they leave whole again depends on how much I impress upon them that the arts is a vital and necessary part of being human, happy, healthy and well. And that is why I chose to go into teaching.”
Coming from a family of teachers, Grimmett’s every day motivation comes from being able to see his students blossom into confident young adults.
“I love seeing my students on stage in ways they've never imagined. I never know who is going to surprise me. Perhaps the greatest privilege I have is seeing a timid Freshman grow into a confident Senior ready to greet life's challenges head-on. That's what the arts can do for young people,” Grimmett said. “I see it every day in our journey together. The charge to change our world for the better -- our culture-at-large, our moral obligations, our collective capacity for empathy -- has been the biggest one of my life, but I'm here for the long run.”
Grimmett holds a bachelor’s of music with elective studies in teaching certification from the University of Houston and a master of fine arts in musical theatre writing.
About the Teacher of the Year Award
Each year, Pearland ISD schools select a campus nominee for the district award. A panel of judges then selects an elementary and secondary winner to advance in the Texas Teacher of the Year competition.
Long and Grimmett were announced as the district winners in May recognized for being outstanding educators and for inspiring students, respecting colleagues and for serving our community.