Every year, Klein Oak faculty put forth a nomination of whom they think should be Teacher of the Year. Many deserving faculty members were nominated for the title, but ultimately, history teacher Brooke Downey was chosen for this honor for the 2020-21 school year. She graduated from Klein Oak in 2011 and then got her bachelor’s in Art History at Texas Tech in 2015 and got her master’s through Stephen F. Austin University in Educational Leadership in 2019.
“You’re a representation of where you are from – family, institutions, organizations or whatever. When you are put in a position where you are associated solely with that, you have to be focused on aligning yourself with the values and understanding those values are as important to not just you and who you work with, but who you serve,” Downey said. “My thing coming back to Klein Oak is I know these values and I know that they are important. I take it very seriously that I am aligned with the vision of Klein Oak and Klein ISD as well.”
With her background in educational leadership, Downey wishes to eventually lead a school. She says she is working to become a principal of her own school and has an interesting take on how she would lead.
“I think there is a lot of leading from your seat going on in the 20-21 [school year] as we enter a new year of showing people, students and colleagues that it is just as important to lead from your seat as it is from the front of the line,” Downey said. “There are important things you need to do in your role every single day and you can’t dismiss that is not as important as something else, everything you do has to be done with intention.”
With the end of the first full school year during the coronavirus, everything has changed. Meetings are virtual, lesson plans are digitized. Being a teacher who is able to adapt quickly to her new surroundings and challenges, Downey has had to take in all that she could so that she could correctly interpret her situation. To not only be a respected teacher but a respected leader, Downey has become the face of the school. Her idealism and progressive mindset made her stand out to those who chose her.
“When I took her class, it was really challenging since it was an AP class. However, she made learning fun. I am not really a fan of history, but I did enjoy taking her class a lot,” senior Reagan Kurtz said.
Brooke Downey has left a huge impact at Klein Oak. Since she was a former panther, she understands what it is like for the students of Oak. From her qualifications of educational leadership to the influence she has on those around her, there are many reasons as to why Downey won teacher of the year.
“In schools, you are not doing it individually; it has to be collective and so that means there is a collective good and collective decision,” Downey said. “Whatever is good with one person has to be good with everyone and no matter your decision, it has to be that way.”