ROCHELLE, Texas – Five teachers at Rochelle ISD have been approved for the Region 15 Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) under House Bill 3.

Since being approved in 2019, the TEA and TIA have been providing funds to teachers who excel in their work within their low social-economic and rural school districts. Out of the 1,200 school districts in Texas, only 127 districts have teachers that were awarded under HB3 this year.

Those that receive this award are given one of three titles: Recognized, Exemplary, or Master.

Three of the six-man school’s teachers earned master teacher, two are exemplary and one is recognized.

Junior High mathematics teacher Kristi Lewis, Junior High science teacher Jamie Fields and High School English and Language Arts teacher Natanya Turk are all awarded and recognized as master teachers.

High school social study teacher Rex Ewert and third-grade teacher Angie King are being recognized by the TEA as exemplary.

Dyslexia and GT teacher Karen McWilliams is noted as a recognized teacher as well.

“According to the state, the average school district has about 5% of their teachers recognized as master teachers under the bill,” said Rochelle ISD Superintendent Dave Lewis. “Rochelle ISD has 15% of its teachers recognized as master teachers this year.”

Each of these teachers will receive a $6,000 to $15,000 bonus in May for the next five years depending on their classification.

“We are very proud to have so many great teachers ranging in different areas of the school receiving this incentive,” said Lewis. “I think this helps show Rochelle ISD’s focus on all campuses, not just one.”

The Rochelle community including the administration, teachers and citizens helped come together to create a system to help reward teachers for their efforts as well as retain staff. Rochelle ISD had successfully entered into the TEA application process for TIA in July of 2020 after creating a plan that worked for the school and followed TEA guidelines. The 2020 to 2021 school year served as a year for data collection for the application. Teachers worked to fully master curriculum assessment, Student Learning Objections and remediation strategies so that administration could complete evaluations that met Texas Tech University guidelines. Texas Tech worked independently with Rochelle ISD to help evaluate the system the district put in place.

“All teachers deserved to be recognized for all their hard work,” Lewis said.