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Katy ISD Celebrates District-wide and Rookie Teachers of the Year


May 13, 2020

By Jennifer Miko

Every year, Katy ISD recognizes teachers who impact the students and faculty at their home campus. The 2019-20 District-wide Teachers of the Year lead their classes in music and special education, and the Rookie Teachers of the Year include a PE Coach and a geography teacher. Congratulations to these outstanding educators for earning this special honor!

District-wide Elementary Campus Teacher of the Year

Kimberly Peterson, Hayes Elementary

PreK – Fifth Grade Music Specialist/Fifth Grade Choir Director

In 2014, Kimberly Peterson accepted her current teaching position at Jeanette Hayes Elementary.  She is described as an innovative educator who inspires students to become respectful, responsible learners who are actively engaged in the process of making music. 

Over her career, Peterson edited music projects, instructed students in piano and vocal technique, musicianship skills and performance skills. She also worked as a choir director and directed musical theatre productions.

Peterson carries on the legacy that began with Katy ISD’s first elementary music teacher, Jeanette Hayes.

District-wide Secondary Campus Teacher of the Year

Kara Lowery, Stockdick Junior High

Special Education Teacher

Autism Support and Intervention Program (ASIP)

Kara Lowery has been an educator for 12 years, starting in Katy ISD as a paraprofessional in autism units.  She later earned her bachelor’s degree and obtain her teacher’s certification, and then her Master of Science in Special Education

Her goal is for her students to have a full and happy life whereby they are productive, accepted members of society. Lowery wants to ensure that her students can find success in the world and that the world is equipped to help them. 

Currently, Lowery is working to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).


District-wide Elementary Rookie Teacher of the Year Oleksandr Hirka, Stephens Elementary

Physical Education Coach

Before becoming a teacher, Oleksandr Hirka (aka Coach O) worked at Wolfe Elementary as a PE paraprofessional from September 2016 to February 2019, and then moved to Stephens Elementary. His main goal is to provide his students the best possible education and to be a great role model for them. 

Prior to joining Katy ISD, Hirka ran summer camps for inner-city children, and was a childcare coordinator for the Katy YMCA which involved visits to many Katy ISD elementary schools from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016. 


District-wide Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year Alexa Stewart, Mayde Creek High School

Geography Teacher

In August 2018, Alexa Stewart collaborated with other educators at the University Prep for Science and Math Middle School in Detroit, MI and Godwin Heights High School in Grand Rapids, MI where she taught self-made lessons through a variety of strategies. 

One year later, Stewart became a ninth-grade World Geography teacher for on-level and Katy Advanced Placement classes at Mayde Creek High School.

She tries to prepare her students academically by utilizing various apps and educational websites. In addition to their academic achievements, Stewart helps prepare her students for success in their personal development and goals.


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