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Nationally Recognized

The future prosperity of our community depends on the educational foundation our students receive each day in classrooms around the District. We know the stakes are high, and the task is ongoing. Our teachers and staff have proven to be up for the challenge. As we continue to strive to meet our mission of graduating every student prepared for success, we’re proud that the important work taking place every day on the frontlines has earned our district a spotlight on the national stage.

  • Most notably, then Palo Duro High School teacher Shanna Peeples was named 2015 National teacher of the year, earning national attention for her profound approach to teaching students from many different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Tascosa High School AP human geography teacher Alyssa Wilson is a 2019 AGS Geography Teacher Fellow, one of only 50 teachers across the country to receive this honor.
  • Amarillo High School debate teacher Mellessa Denny was named the Outstanding Speech, Debate & Theatre Educator for Section 6 by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Nationally, only eight honorees are chosen.
  • The District celebrated academic achievement with the start of the 2019-2020 school year upon learning our elementary students outscored their peers in the state and region across the board in English-Language Arts.
  • Our music program achieved multi-year honors as a Best Community for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, receiving the award in 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019. The honor recognizes outstanding commitment to music education.
  • Caprock High School’s JROTC drill team is the nation’s top color guard after competing at the Marine Corps JROTC drill team nationals in Washington, D.C. in April, 2019. This is the first time in 30 years that an Amarillo team was invited to participate in this competition.
  • Whittier Elementary, along with Belmar and Ridgecrest are recognized as 2018-2019 Honor Roll Schools for their high achievement in student success. In 2015, the Education Results Partnership also named Whitter, South Lawn and de Zavala Honor Roll Schools.
  • Our students scored higher than both the state and national averages on SAT exams taken in March 2017. The combined efforts of AISD students and administrators working to establish greater test preparation for students boosted the average score for the District by 27 points from the previous year and 15 points higher than the national average in 2017.
  • Amarillo ISD started the 2017-2018 school year as among the top 10 school districts in the nation for high achievement among low-income students. The Education Equality Index (EEI), compared academic performance between low and high-income students from 55,000 schools across 45 states to determine ranking.
  • Two of our campuses have earned the U.S. Department of Education’s coveted National Blue Ribbon in recent years: Whittier Elementary in 2017 and South Lawn Elementary in 2015. The National Blue Ribbon is given to schools that achieve very high learning standards or make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
  • Slightly more than 200 schools in the world have earned the prestigious Lighthouse designation from the Franklin Covey Co., and Amarillo ISD is home to two: Tradewind Elementary and Glenwood Elementary. The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.
  • AISD’s innovative approach to encouraging post-secondary education success earned a District of Distinction award from a national educational leadership journal. The District was featured in a special edition of District Administration magazine that highlighted the efforts of Caprock High School, Tascosa High School and Palo Duro High School as teachers and administration pushed for 100 percent of college applications submissions for the 2016-2017 senior classes.
  • In September 2017, two AISD educators, Kay Fincher and Nichole Bennett, were named finalists in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest recognition of mathematics and science teachers. Teachers considered for these awards are recognized for their fresh and innovative methods of teaching inside a classroom. AISD is represented in both award categories with Bennett as a finalist in mathematics teaching and Fincher as a finalist in science teaching.
  • AISD is now home to 19 No Excuses University schools. The NEU model is a nationwide initiative of schools who share the same goals for student learning, believing it is the role of the adults to create exceptional systems to ensure every student has options and is ready for success after high school.
  • AISD’s leadership in the NEU movement brought the district another opportunity to impact the national conversation through an alliance with Amarillo College, the nation’s first NEU college. In December of 2014, AISD joined AC at the White House College Opportunity Summit which was hosted by President and Mrs. Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.