Two years after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with ESL from Houston Baptist University (HBU), Darby Isereau is making a difference in the lives of her students.
She was recently named “Campus Teacher of the Year” at Cottonwood Elementary in the Cleveland Independent School District.
From live butterflies in her classroom to an entire hallway dedicated to her student’s work, Isereau has a special talent for finding something important to each child that she can connect with and celebrate.
A 2020 graduate of HBU, Isereau believes in identifying her students’ unique capabilities and allowing them to achieve success on their own terms.
“Good teaching has to include differentiation because every child is capable of learning and achieving great things, but they have to do that in their own way and in their own time. There is never a dull moment and I never know what is going to happen next. That is why I am hoping to loop up with my students next year. They are all so amazing and I know we can continue to progress together,” said Isereau.
The HBU alum discovered her calling for teaching after going on a mission trip to Haiti in 2016 and recognizing that students needed someone to advocate for them and also teach them to advocate for themselves.
She lives by the mantra of “progress over perfection.” “I feel like this defines me as an educator because nobody is going to be perfect all day, every day, however each day everyone can make progress towards something greater,” said Isereau.
Cleveland ISD administrators believe that the phrase, ‘teaching is a work of heart’ describes Isereau’s passion for teaching and love for her students.
“Isereau is an incredible teacher who will positively impact hundreds of students and their families over the length of her career. We are proud that she calls Cleveland ISD her home,” read a press release statement on the Cottonwood Elementary teacher’s being named “Campus Teacher of the Year.”
She values the years she spent studying at HBU and the support that she received from professors.
“I chose HBU because I felt I needed the small class size. I wanted my professors to know me and ensure that I wasn’t just another student. I loved the amount of support that my education professors gave and for continuing to support me after I was no longer their student. My professors taught me early on how to connect with students, how to advocate for them, and how to make sure all of their needs were being met,” shared Isereau.
The most fulfilling aspect of her studies at HBU was the time spent in the field at various elementary schools. “It was amazing being able to apply all of what I learned with students and gave me the opportunity to find my own style,” said Isereau.
While at HBU, she led a mission trip to Haiti through BSM and Go Now Missions, an organization that engages college students to follow Christ and transform the world through evangelism, discipleship, missions, leadership and church life and completed two other missions trips to Haiti. She also was a member of Alpha Chi Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society.
Inspired by her students and HBU Assistant Professor Dr. Alaniz, Isereau recently added a special education certification to her credentials so she can better serve all students in her classroom. Her plans in the future are to pursue a master’s degree to gain new skills to engage and support her students.