The Greater Longview Organization for Business and Education continued its tradition of honoring local teachers Wednesday at its Teacher of the Year reception at LeTourneau University.

Twenty-four teachers from 12 East Texas school districts were recognized by the organization and received a $200 Brookshire’s gift card, donated by the company.

Chairwoman Marty Lane said she has an education background, and she understands how hard teaching can be.

“I know what it’s like to be in the classroom, and I know how hard it is to do your job,” she said. “You guys are the cream of the crop, and it’s an honor to have you here today.”

Districts with recognized teachers were Sabine, Leverett’s Chapel, Gilmer, Gladewater, Hallsville, Harleton, Longview, New Diana, Pine Tree, Spring Hill, Tatum and White Oak. Each district had two teachers honored.

LeTourneau University President Steven Mason attended Wednesday’s ceremony to welcome and recognize honorees as well.

“This is my 25th year at LeTourneau. I started at full-time professor,” Mason said. “I think the hardest job I’ve ever had, and I don’t think this will change no matter what my role at LeTourneau is, is being a full-time teacher. Just the work involved, the preparations, the angst, the emotions in thinking I better have something actually meaningful to say. There’s nothing that I value more than a really good teacher.”

GLOBE co-chairwoman Linda Buie said the organization started in 1988 after business people in the area told educators that students were not prepared for the jobs they have available and asked that harder courses be taught in schools.

“The educators fought back and said we’re offering those hard, challenging courses, but the students are not taking the courses. They’re available, but the students are not signing up for them,” she said. “This group of educators and business people formed the GLOBE organization with the sole intent of getting students to take more challenging classes at the high school so they would in turn be able to take the jobs that are available to them and to be able to do them accurately and to do them well.”

Buie said the organization now offers a GLOBE scholar medallion to graduating seniors who take those courses, and the participation has grown immensely. She said at Longview ISD alone, what started at 10 percent of graduating seniors receiving a medallion is now at 97 percent this year.

COVID-19 has brought some challenges in schools this year, and Mason recognized that when addressing teachers Wednesday.

“This has been an incredibly tough year, especially,” he said. “So those of you that got teacher of the year during this year, you get double star for rising to the occasion during the year we’ve had.”

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