Theater Teacher Dances Off With DISD Award

A high school theater teacher has been named Dallas' teacher of the year.

The Dallas Independent School District presented John McCollum with the honor during an awards dinner Thursday night.

McCollum is a theater arts teacher at Bryan Adams High School. He has been with the district for 26 of his 32 teaching years.

In a news release, McCollum said his job fulfills his childhood dream.

"Teaching is the realization of my dream of becoming a movie star, because when I am reaching and teaching children, I truly do feel that stardom has been achieved," he said.

Over the years, his students have won 200 acting awards and a dozen technical awards. They have gone on to write and produce local theater and tour the United States teaching workshops.

Cynthia Goodsell, principal of Bryan Adams, said one of McCollum's students wrote a play last year that was performed by the school's drama department and won a full college scholarship.

McCollum, who has also taught math and English during his teaching career, received a $5,000 award.

The other three finalists, Chanika Turner, of Richard Lagow Elementary School; Olga Pacot, of William M. Anderson Elementary School; and Karen Puckett, of Benjamin Franklin Middle School, received $1,000 awards.

DISD also named Youlonda Green-Fuller, of Annie Webb Blanton Elementary, teacher assistant of the year. She received a $1,500 award.

The finalists for teacher assistant of the year were awarded $250. The finalists were Euna W. Davis, of S.S. Conner Elementary School; Vickie Sallee, of Harry C. Withers Elementary School; Gloria Scott, of Ronald E. McNair Elementary School; and Claudia Ortega, of Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School.

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