Dallas ISD teacher named Special Services Educator of the Year

John Fore, a functional living skills teacher at Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School, can boast of many accomplishments, from being named a master teacher to being a two-time finalist for Dallas ISD’s Teacher of the Year. Now, he has added another accolade to the list: receiving the Association of Texas Professional Educators’ Special Services Educator of the Year award. 

The ATPE is the largest teacher association in the state. Each year, the organization recognizes educators in several categories for going above and beyond for student success. 

Fore’s award, which falls under the Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Award category, recognizes ATPE members who demonstrate exceptional or innovative capabilities in their respective educational fields, and Fore said he is proud to be among this year’s recipients.

He has spent the past 20 years teaching in Dallas ISD and has another decade of teaching experience in other school communities. As a functional living skills teacher, he wears many hats, instructing his students in adaptive robotics, gardening, operating a campus cafe, connecting with international pen pals, cleaning, and more. 

“We give them all the skills that are needed for them to be successful,” Fore said. “The goal is to teach them independence. We try to think outside the box because our kids sometimes feel low social value and self-worth, so we also work hard to empower them and value them for who they are.”

The result is a classroom environment that Fore said feels like a “big family.” They even have an annual Thanksgiving dinner where they sit down and enjoy each other’s company, and Fore helps bake his students cakes to celebrate their birthdays. 

“It’s amazing to see my students come out of their shells each year and for them to feel successful in themselves,” Fore said. “When I do lessons, it’s all about how I can engage them and how I can build scaffolding to bridge to new learning.”

Fore and the other ATPE award recipients will be recognized at the 2023 ATPE Summit in Round Rock in July. To learn more about the awards or the ATPE, visit https://www.atpe.org/News-Media/ATPE-Blog/Announcing-ATPE-2023-award-recipients

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