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JEA Names 3 Texas Advisers as Rising Stars

JEA named 13 advisers as Rising Stars. Meet the three from Texas.

Katie Frazier

Frazier Rising Star PhotoSchool
Seven Lakes Junior High (Katy, TX)

Years Teaching
This is my 13th year teaching, but my 4th year advising.

Publicaitons Advised
Specifics-Yearbook
The Saga-Newspaper

Why did you become a journalism teacher?
I was on yearbook staff in high school and loved it. Mary Kay Downes was my adviser at Chantilly HS in Chantilly, VA, so I definitely had a strong mentor and that laid the foundation. I taught elementary school for 9 years and even sponsored a little student-run newspaper after school that was made up of 4th and 5th graders. When SLJH opened four years ago, I jumped on the opportunity to teach yearbook at the new school and move up to the junior high level. After establishing a successful and award-winning yearbook program, I added a student-run newspaper program this year. It is definitely my passion and I love that I get to do this every day…and get paid for it!

Who has been your mentor(s) these first years?
So many wonderful advisers have inspired my staff and me over the past four years. I’d have to say my top five are Mary Kay Downes, Cindy Todd, Sarah Nichols, Casey Nichols and Margaret Sorrows. I have also been blessed to know John Cutsinger and have had him spend some time with my staff bouncing around ideas the past few years. My Jostens rep, Donna Magana, has also been AMAZING. She helped me get started from scratch at a new school and is always ready to help make our big, “out there” ideas come to fruition.

What makes you a journalism nerd?
Well, of course I think student media is the best and most important thing a student can get involved in. I’m a lexophile, a font nerd, a grammar nerd, my favorite amendment is the First Amendment, my favorite shape is the color wheel, and every morning, I try to dress in a three-peat.

What is your biggest goal as a publications adviser?
To empower my students to use their voice in a responsible and appropriate way.

What snacks should we send you?
We love anything chocolate! 🙂

 

__________

 

berryheadshotSamantha Jo Berry

School
Cypress Creek HS

Years Teaching
This is my sixth year teaching and advising

Publications Advised
Yearbook, Newspaper and Broadcast

Why did you become a journalism teacher?
I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, but I became a journalism teacher because of my dentist. I did not want to be a teacher but when “Texas Monthly” passed on my application (not bitter), my dentist suggested I take the journalism teacher position at the local high school. I went in for an interview and they offered the job on the spot because we were all pretty desperate.

Who has been your mentor(s) these first years?
I may have become a journalism teacher because of my dentist, but I stayed a journalism teacher because of Leland Mallett. I was lucky and blessed to have met Leland that first year. Six years later, he’s still my mentor but now he’s one my very best friends because he’s seen me ugly cry and understands my affinity for gifs.

What makes you a journalism nerd? Two things: my lifelong obsession with 20/20 and my complete and utter hatred for Comic Sans.

What is your biggest goal as a publications adviser?
On a professional level, I want to see my kids win Pacemakers and Crowns. On a personal level, I want to see my students use their voices and education to impact the world of journalism. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few Pulitzer Prize winners.

What snacks should we send you?
Room 1446 operates on extra-butter popcorn and coffee.

 

____

 

waters.headshotLeah Waters, CJE
Creekview High School, Carrollton, Texas
School: Creekview High School

Years Teaching
In my 5th year of teacher

Publications Advised
Trail Dust Yearbook, Mane Event Newspaper (Print & Online)

Why did you become a journalism teacher?
After graduating with a degree in Journalism, I realized very quickly that I didn’t actually enjoy the daily grind of selling my stories for pitiful pay. And I also realized I really loved high school kids for some reason. So I gave this a try and fell in love.

Who has been your mentor(s) these first years?
Deanne Brown has taught me so much about being a good adviser and empowering my students to give their best work. She is the reason why I have the confidence in myself and my teaching. Also, Mark Murray is an incredible leader and role model for young advisers. He also has an incredible talent of juggling responsibilities that convinces me of his superhuman powers of problem solving.

What makes you a journalism nerd?
I’ve never wanted to do anything else with my life except tell stories and consume stories. Journalism is the place where I can constantly do the things I love.

What is your biggest goal as a publications adviser?
My biggest goal as an adviser is to help students cultivate a love for telling stories and teaching the skills to tell them well. I want every student to leave my program and feel positive and confident about their own ability as a storyteller.

What snacks should we send you?
Winning Powerball ticket? If not, I like chocolate and crackers and margaritas. 🙂

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