2011-06-30 / School

Education Staff at Giddings State School Top in the State

Kenion Teacher of the Year Kenion Teacher of the Year Giddings – Walter Kenion, Automotive Collision Repair (ACR) teacher was named 2011 Teacher of the Year by the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). Gloria Williams was named one of three finalists for 2011 TYC Teacher Aide of the Year. The Texas Youth Commission, a statewide juvenile corrections agency, operates 8 high schools. Each year the agency recognizes education staff that help troubled youth find success in the classroom.

“Many of these students first come to my class with little or no motivation,” said Kenion, a teacher with TYC for more than 27 years. “If you give them clear boundaries and an opportunity to succeed in small things, it lights a spark that changes their whole outlook on school and on life.”

Kenion is known for his “no nonsense” attitude. He has to run a tight ship in a shop filled with tools and paints. Under his close supervision, students learn the art of auto collision repair, beginning with proper safety procedures and equipment. The students work on cars, trucks, tractors, and trailers from the surrounding community. Every job has a customer waiting for the finished project, so students learn with a focus on customer service.

Vocational classes are for serious students interested in real job skills. Students work toward certification by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), a not-for-profit education foundation created to develop industry-driven standardized training programs and credentials recognized by the construction industry. Students work toward certification in each aspect of the job, such as calculating estimates, frame & bodywork repairs/fabrication, and painting.

Kenion is the third teacher at the Giddings State School to receive TYC Teacher of the Year. Past recipients include welding instructor, Robbie Stork (2007) and math teacher, Garry Blasig (2009). The Giddings State School has more than 280 students from around the state of Texas. Giddings is a high restriction facility for serious and violent juvenile offenders. Students attend school year round. The state school is proud of the educational services it provides. While a majority of students arrive years behind in reading and math, more than 65 percent of students receive their GED or high school diploma before leaving the school after 2-3 years. Research shows that education is the number one factor in helping juveniles and adults break out of a cycle of crime and incarceration.

Gloria Williams has been with TYC for more than 11 years. She was voted 2011 Teacher Aide of the Year for the Giddings State School and was one of three finalists in the statewide competition. “It is a blessing to be part of the transformation of youth,” said Williams. “Many of these children come in here thinking of themselves as criminals and acting hard. But with time, discipline, and care, many leave here as fine young men. I’m proud to be a part of the process.”

The Giddings State School is a juvenile correctional facility of the Texas Youth Commission. The school provides education and rehabilitation to 280 boys, ages 13-19. Volunteers are needed to serve as mentors, tutors and to teach leisure skills classes. For more information contact Andy Wier, Community Relations Coordinator at 979-542- 4609 or by email at andy.wier@tyc.state.tx.us.

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