SYF Names its National Teacher and Administrator of the Year

The decision was a difficult one for SYF – so many talented,
passionate and dedicated educators and administrators committed to SYF’s
mission to ignite hope in at-risk students and improve public education in the
U.S. Yet, the final decision was made and two individuals were recognized at
last night’s national conference:
Shacora Moore, an English teacher at Hickory Hollow Academy
in Nashville, TN was named SYF’s National Teacher of the Year.
  • Congratulations to the other nominees: Daniel Atkeson, instructor,
    Simon Youth Academy at Old Cockrill, Nashville, TN; Karla Fridley, instructor,
    Simon Youth Pacer’s Academy at Washington Square, Indianapolis, IN; and
    Courtney Strash, instructor, Simon Youth Academy at Northgate Mall, Seattle,

Brandon Van Vleck, an administrator with the Simon Youth Judson Learning Academy at Rolling Oaks Mall
in San Antonio, TX was named 2013 National Administrator of the Year.

Shacora Moore
Shacora was recognized for her creativity and strategic
approach to fostering meaningful educational and professional development
opportunities for at-risk students in Nashville. According to Michael Durnil, President & CEO, SYF, Shacora
exemplifies the very special kind of educator needed to connect with students attending
SYF Academies.
“Shacora’s dedication to students at Hickory Hollow Academy
and her commitment to help them achieve an even brighter future epitomizes the
very best of all of our hard-working educators. Shacora is very deserving of
this award.”
As a teacher, Shacora aspires to provide students at Hickory
Hollow with an educational foundation that will contribute to their future. She
believes that through the gift of teaching, teachers are able to impact the
world by inspiring children to be all that they can be.
Outside of the classroom, Shacora is actively engaged in the
community. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in
Education; a sponsor of the Inner City Drama Club; a mentor for TNAchieves; and
a motivational speaker for youth groups at churches in Nashville. Shacora is also
a published author and hosts writing workshops for young adults and adults interested
in creative writing.
Brandon Van
has been recognized locally and nationally for his leadership position within
the San Antonio school district, for his commitment to promoting positive
change and for ensuring all students receive a quality education. Earlier this
year, he was awarded the Administrator of the Year
for Judson Independent School District.
philosophy to lead with integrity and have accurate facts ready to share, has
helped solidify more opportunities for success” said Michael.
“He has an incredible way of strengthening staff and community
relations, and inspiring those around him.”
“Mr. Van Vleck is an excellent role model and the epitome of a
great person with a heart for students,” said Elida Bera, Assistant
Superintendent of Judson ISD.
For the past three years Brandon has made an incredible impact
on at-risk youth through his work with SYF. He began his teaching career at
Ross Sterling High School in the south side of Houston in 1998, following
graduation Texas State University. While teaching high school math for nine
years in Houston public schools, Van Vleck earned his Master’s degree in
Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies from the University of Houston. He
moved to San Antonio in 2005 and was the Campus Testing Coordinator, AP/GT
Coordinator and Math Instructional Lead teacher at Wagner High School until he
was named Principal of Simon Youth Judson Learning Academy in 2010.
SYF congratulates and thanks all teachers and
administrators who continue to ignite hope in the lives of at-risk students.

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