Dallas ISD teachers awarded scholarships from SMU

Dallas ISD’s Special Services Department and Southern Methodist University teamed up to present scholarships to 16 teachers who will pursue a master’s degree in special education, specializing in bilingualism or English as a second language, and foundational literacy education or STEM.

Eight teachers received Kathryne and Gene Bishop Scholarships for master’s degrees with concentration in special education/ESL. Eight more received Simmons Scholarships for master’s degrees with concentration in special education/STEM. The educators, who currently teach in pre-k through 12th grades in the district, were awarded the scholarships at a recent event. 

“This celebration underscored the community’s support and recognition of the educators’ dedication and potential,” said Michelle Brown, director of the district’s Special Services Department. 

The scholarships were funded by a $3 million endowment from the Bishop family and Simmons School of Education at SMU. Each educator was awarded a scholarship worth $28,000, which will cover tuition and fees over the two-year program. The scholarship was created by Kathryne and the late Gene Bishop to support Dallas ISD teachers pursuing master’s degrees. The couple worked together as longtime supporters of children’s health and education, among other philanthropies.

“This initiative not only highlights the partnership’s commitment to educational excellence but also ensures that a new cohort of teachers will be recruited every other year to continue this impactful program,” Brown said. 

Starting in September 2024, the scholarship recipients will embark on specialized coursework designed to enhance their skills in addressing the unique needs of all students who receive special education services, including emergent bilingual students with special needs, said Brown. 

The three-phase selection process included an interest meeting, personal essays, instructional video submissions, principal recommendations, and comprehensive interviews. This rigorous process culminated in the selection of the 16 educators who are eager to make significant advancements in special education, according to Brown.

The scholarship recipients are:


Kathryne and Gene Bishop Scholarship recipients 

Todd C. Anthony Jr. (Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School)

Lee Brown (Hillcrest High School)

Alyse Loach (Hillcrest High School)

Mia Martinico (Chapel Hill Preparatory)

Amanda McCrum (John J. Pershing Elementary School)

Martin Mejia Rodriguez (Rosie M. Collins Sorrells School of Education and Social Services at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center)

Gabriela Mejia Villarreal (Jerry R. Junkins Elementary School)

Kashma Thompson (Lee A. McShan Jr. Elementary School)


Simmons Scholarship recipients

Matina Chavez Briones (Eduardo Mata Montessori)

Patrick Desso (Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Fred F. Florence Middle School)

Ieasha Lee (Judge Louis A. Bedford, Jr. Law Magnet)

Val Lister (L.V. Stockard Middle School)

Mariana Lujan (pre-K partnership center)

Tomilayo Olatunde (L.V. Stockard Middle School)

Jeaneth Sagales (Gilbert Cuellar Sr. Elementary School)

Danayka Wong (George H.W. Bush Elementary School)

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