2007-2008 Teacher of the Year


- Viki Duncan -

Teacher of the Year


Biographical Sketch

True to the character of elegant ladies who lived high in the arch of the boot (central Louisiana), my mother and grandmother, ladies of elegance, style and strength were my inspiration to become a teacher. They provided “a deep rich roux”, the firm foundation of love for children, service to others and education.

Grandmother Simmie Washington was the principal, teacher and custodian of a one room school house at Tate Cove School in Louisiana in the 1930’s. My Mother inspired me to read from labels and cereal boxes as we prepared meals for a household of twelve. She diagnosed my brother with “dyslexia” before it had a name and assigned me as his “helper”. They smile from heaven knowing that their legacy continues and that I too, make a positive difference in the life of children. Their model of service was reinforced by the compassionate heart and diligent hand of my Father who taught me that “The reward of a job well done is most often, just being the one who ‘done it’. 

Most significant in my service to education is motivating discouraged or apathetic students to set measurable and realistic goals to create greater opportunities for success, thereby building confidence in their own ability to gain knowledge and develop critical thinking skills. I have learned that often lifting a spirit goes hand in hand with increasing performance. 

Philosophy of Teaching

I have a unique opportunity to teach children the benefit of using the intelligence placed in their heads and the talents put in their hands to bless our world with dreams planted in their hearts. Embracing this philosophy allows me to keep my focus student centered and sensitive to the different cultures and diverse teaching methods necessary to build on the strength of a learner’s prior knowledge, experience, and expectations. Being an effective teacher means bridging the gap between that prior knowledge and curriculum, while recognizing the richness of each student’s culture, and overcoming barriers that hinder their academic success. This validates my student’s self-worth and guarantees citizenry in our classroom. My classrooms are learner-centered, cooperative learning environments where students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning. Much of my teaching experience has been gained while serving students who learn differently because of cognitive, physical or emotional challenges. As a co-teach partner, building supportive partnerships has become my mantra in order to accomplish student success. These challenges provide a wealth of unique collaborative and creative learning opportunities for all who are a part of the process; student, parent and teacher.

Professional Development Activities

I received TEA Certifications in ESL, Reading and Special Education while accomplishing post graduate work at the University of St. Thomas in 1997 and 1998. Undergraduate work at the University of Houston Downtown resulted in the successful completion of a Bachelor of Science in Business Services Technology 1981. I am a member of The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE). I was recently Nominated for KHOU TV’s 2007 Jefferson for volunteer/community service. Aldine District’s superintendent has recognized my perfect attendance the past two years. My performance evaluations have been “exceeds expectations” the past three years. I partnered with a colleague to conduct an ESL workshop entitled “Not Just Another Wordshop”. In addition to being selected Hambrick’s Teacher of the Year 2008, John Marshall Middle School (HISD) honored me as Teacher of the Year 1999. I accepted the administrative appointment of mentor during 2005 and 2007 school years. The following lists my involvement in extracurricular activities.

Black History Committee Chairperson (2006-08)

Carpe Diem Club Adult Leader (2007-8)

CSU (Christian Student Union) Sponsor (since 2000)

DI (Destination Imagination) team manager/appraiser/volunteer (past 5 years)

Hambrick Climate Committee Member (since 2000)

Hispanic Heritage Committee Member (since 2003)

SNAPP Partner (since 2000) 

Technology Club Adult Leader (2007)

Personal Teaching Style

My personal teaching style is interactive and stimulating, while addressing multiple intelligences. My choice has been to make my classrooms learner-centered, cooperative learning environments where students are encouraged to participate in comfort and security. They are encouraged to become responsible learners. My classroom demonstrates constructivist learning with my serving as facilitator. Further enhancement is from the use of interactive technology, manipulatives, and creative problem solving. We use song, dance and role play which includes song lyrics, kinesthetics and skits to teach language skills as well as social skills. Our class contrasted Elvis and The Beatles in a mock interview while we read “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton.

Community Development

I currently support my community through several service oriented activities which include enlisting in Aldine District’s initiatives such as SNAPP, Destination Imagination and ESL Language Fair; and city sponsored neighborhood clean-up initiatives as well as state voter registration drives. In addition, I chaperone a student led spiritual enrichment and values training club two days a week. This club most recently conducted an annual toy drive benefiting the Aldine Youth Program. Extending my community involvement to the academic setting, I have facilitated TAKS practice and skill building through weekly tutorials during the past year. I participate in organizing on campus family math and literacy projects. Additionally, I extend my commitment to serve to my local worship center in the capacity of lay minister. I have received reward incentives such as school supplies and gift certificates from local business donors as motivation for my students.


“Educators have unique opportunities to teach children to effectively use the intelligence placed in their heads and talents put in their hands to bless our world with dreams planted in their hearts.”

Viki Duncan, Language Arts

Hambrick Middle School Teacher of the Year 2008