Nine finalists were in the running for Dallas ISD's 'Teacher of the Year'. The district named three: Jose Armendariz from John Pershing Elementary, Seneca Denman from Boude Storey Middle School, and Yonathan Tadesse from Law Magnet.
"I know how many great teachers we have at Dallas ISD," Peter Morrissey said. "So just to be mentioned with them, it's an amazing feeling I'm very proud of."
Morrissey is a kindergarten teacher at Alex Sanger Preparatory School. He also runs the robotics program at the school. He was among nine finalists for this year's DISD Teacher of the Year, an honor won by Morrissey's wife three years ago.
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"She's just been awesome," Morrissey said. "We collaborate and work together many times, so she's helped me tremendously to help me be the teacher I am today."
Morrissey has been teaching for 17 years. He switched to education from a career in the mortgage field.
"I really try to find strengths in all the kids and try to meet them where they are," Morrissey explained.
He's part of a small, but growing number of male kindergarten teachers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 3% of pre-school and kindergarten teachers are men.
This week's National Teacher Appreciation week comes after more than a year of teaching during a pandemic.
"It's been a harder year, but I think every year we have faced obstacles," Morrissey said. " I think that's why I do what I do, just because I love it."
Morrissey said he had a teacher growing up who influenced him. He wanted to be that kind of teacher to his students.
"She was instrumental in my life because in 4th grade she did things so differently, just made learning fun," Morrissey said. "It might be hard sometimes, but loving...(I hope) they remember me being loving as well and supporting them whenever they needed me."