Bell’s Hill educator named Region 12 Teacher of Year

Bell’s Hill educator named Region 12 Teacher of Year
Posted on 07/18/2017

Deborah DeGraff, a Science Lab Teacher at Waco ISD’s Bell’s Hill campus, was named the Elementary Teacher of the Year for the 2018 Region 12 Education Service Center Tuesday.

Debbie DeGraffDeGraff, who just finished her fourth year at that campus, works with 800 Pre-K through 5th graders each year at that campus.  She focuses on innovative, hands-on lessons to make science relevant and meaningful to her students.

She has created an award-winning garden club for 4th and 5th graders, helping them sell plants at the downtown Waco Farmer’s Market.  DeGraff also was a driving force creating the Bell’s Hill Greenhouse, which provides a living laboratory for students to learn about plant life adaptations and life cycles.

Her students have won Keep Waco Beautiful awards for four consecutive years for creative recycling products. 

DeGraff was humbled by the award, saying, “Am I a teacher that should be award- winning?  I can name you five right now that I feel like – they teach children to read.  I do a really cool job with science, but teaching a child to read and do number sense?  That’s life changing,” she explained.

DeGraff was picked from 76 school districts across the region along with Belton ISD’s Craig Sullivan, the secondary teacher of the year.  Both will advance to the semifinals of the Texas Teacher of the Year judging in September.  The Texas Association of School Administrators facilitates that selection process each year. 

See also: Mrs. DeGraff's teacher website