Daniel Cox, a graduate of the College of Education and Human Services in 2014, was named Plano Independent School District Teacher of the Year in Plano, Texas. He came to this distinction since, during his 4th year of teaching, he received the honor of Experienced Teacher of the Year at Plano West Senior High School. This designation put him in the running as a finalist for Plano ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year, and after committee classroom observations and interviews, he was recently given the award. Additionally, after Mr. Cox’s first year of teaching in 2016, he was named Beginning Teacher of the Year at Plano West.
Mr. Cox teaches special education and builds a strong rapport with his students creating a safe and positive learning environment. He also collaborates with his colleagues and the community to create a universal learning environment. Each of his students has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with learning goals and accommodations, and his classroom is designed to help each student achieve these goals as well as life goals. To do this, Mr. Cox establishes an environment that fosters confidence and teaches them it is okay to be wrong, but to approach their answer with a confident voice. This allows students to understand when they are wrong, and strive to find the correct answer. It is this philosophy on teaching that enabled Mr. Cox to earn the impressive distinction.
Plano Interdependent School District schools empower students to be able to adapt to new learning and career opportunities throughout their lives, collaborate with, and contribute to, the global community and to be disciplined and creative in their thinking.
Mr. Cox noted that Dr. Mayida Zaal, Associate Professor in Secondary and Special Education, “help[ed] prepare [him] for the classroom and what it means to be a teacher,” and that he was “truly thankful for Dr. Zaal for being an amazing education mentor.”