A couple months ago, Kendall Hasse found out she had been named a finalist as Dallas ISD’s Teacher of the Year. As part of her honor, she received $1,000.


          Did she splurge on herself — maybe buy some new clothes or take a trip somewhere?




“I bought a computer for my dad,” says Hasse, who teaches English at Woodrow Wilson High School .


          That generosity helps explain why her peers nominated Hasse as Woodrow’s best teacher and why she made the list of district finalists.


          Hasse, who has been a teacher for eight years — seven of those at Woodrow — hasn’t rested on her laurels. She recently completed a master’s program in education curriculum and instruction, and she will start work on another education-related master’s next year. She was one of 12 DISD teachers chosen to participate in the Cohort Program, which will put her on a path to becoming a vice principal and, eventually, a principal if she chooses. And she was picked to teach a new pilot program at Woodrow and J.L. Long called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) that helps medium-performing kids, whom she calls the district’s most “under-represented,” get on a path toward Advanced Placement classes.


          She goes above and beyond, she says, because she wants to keep challenging herself. But it’s also for the students.


           “It’s fun working with kids,” she says. “Young adults are especially enjoyable because although they’re personalities are pretty much formed, but they’re still finding out who they are as individuals and who they want they want to become. And there’s a lot of opportunity you can present in order to help shape their future.”


          What makes a good teacher?


“A good heart. A caring nature. A little bit of intelligence. And a great work ethic,” she says. “Any good teacher has to be willing to put in time before 8:45 and after 3:45.”


          Hasse says she was honored to be named a finalist.


          “You don’t go into teaching for recognition, but it certainly is nice to be recognized,” she says, adding that the distinction “brings honor to Woodrow and our community as well.”


          “Every time I’ve asked parents for help, they’ve been incredibly helpful,” she says, citing such businesses as Angelo’s and La Popular and parents such as Susan Schuerger among those who’ve “really given a lot.”


          “The community is why I’ve been at Woodrow for seven years. I love the community, I love the students.”


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