ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene ISD’s own Taniece Thompson-Smith has been honored as the 2024 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, and she has been selected to represent the state of Texas in the National Teacher of the Year competition, earning her the distinguished title of Texas Teacher of the Year.

The Texas Teacher of the Year program, administered by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), is dedicated to honoring, recognizing, and rewarding teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership since 1969. In addition to Thompson-Smith, eighth-grade robotics educator at Stephen F. Austin Middle School Naveen Cunha was honored as the 2024 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year.

“I congratulate Taniece and Naveen on this achievement. Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor our state bestows upon its teachers,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of TASA. “They have distinguished themselves among thousands of outstanding, dedicated teachers across our state and nation who have answered the call to serve others.”

Courtesy of the Texas Association of School Administrators

With 14 years of teaching experience, Thompson-Smith currently serves as a fifth-grade science instructor at Stafford Elementary, a role she has held for the past two years. As a military spouse, she has taught in more than seven school districts across the United States, Jamaica, and Japan. She has undertaken many responsibilities, including leading district-level professional development workshops, acting as a mentor and speaker for 75 middle and high school girls, and presenting at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Clay Minerals Society International Organization.

Thompson-Smith shared that “each encounter with children must be transformational and awake a sense of curiosity or thirst for knowledge that only education can quench.”

Thompson-Smith is an accomplished educator with a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in New York, a graduate-level teacher certification from Rider University in New Jersey, and a master’s degree from California State University in Fresno. Her dedication and excellence in teaching have earned her prestigious titles, including the titles of 2023 Region 14 Elementary Teacher of the Year and 2022 Abilene ISD Teacher of the Year.

The announcement took place during the Texas Teacher of the Year Awards luncheon in Round Rock, Texas, on October 20. In addition to honoring the Texas Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, the event celebrated the accomplishments of the 40 Regional Teachers of the Year, one of whom was Jason Botos from Hamlin Collegiate High School, who received the title of Region 14 Secondary Teacher of the Year.