A May 2016 graduate of Southern Arkansas University has been honored with an outstanding teacher award in Fort Worth, Texas, according to a press release from the university.

Janae Mosbey, a fifth-grade science teacher at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary School, was chosen as Outstanding Teacher from Human Capital Management on March 2. The distinction furthers her career goals and is one more step in her professional growth and development. It is also a reflection of her passion for teaching, a passion she discovered while studying Early Childhood Education at SAU.

The Texarkana, Ark., native said SAU’s professors made her “fall in love” with both science and the idea of becoming a teacher. Mosbey credits Dr. Angela Stanford and Jennifer Louden, assistant professors of education, with providing “rigorous activities” that engaged her as a student.

I love my job, I love my kids. I teach 66 fifth graders. I’m very sarcastic, and they get me. They understand me. I aim to inspire them every day and provide a supportive environment for learning.

“I still talk to Dr. Stanford on a regular basis,” Mosbey said. “I received a ton of support and motivation from my professors. They challenged and pushed us to do our best.”

Mosbey graduated from Genoa Central in 2012 and entered SAU on academic and cheerleading scholarships. In addition to being a cheerleader, she pledged Sigma Sigma Sigma and served as president of Kappa Delta Pi. She also met her fiancé, Brady Capshaw, at SAU. They will marry on June 10. Capshaw was a Mulerider baseball player and is a financial advisor.

Mosbey advanced through the Fort Worth ISD’s hiring process sufficiently to be invited to a job fair, where she interviewed at an elementary school booth. Though initially offered a position teaching fourth-grade writing, “I’m a math-and-science kind of girl,” she said. She eventually was hired as a science teacher.

"I love my job, I love my kids," she said. "I teach 66 fifth graders. I’m very sarcastic, and they get me. They understand me. I aim to inspire them every day and provide a supportive environment for learning."

She said she incorporates interactive notebooks, projects, and “science raps” in her teaching. “They love that,” she said, “it’s very student-centered, project-based, and collaborative.”

Her students use their notebooks to “write down their observations of any data they’ve collected. They draw and make diagrams. I can see their thinking through their notebooks,” she said.

Each morning, she said, her students greet her with a hug. “We go over our respect agreement and classroom rules. They define an honorable character trait for the week – self-control, attentiveness, obedience. If they break a rule, I tell them, ‘You made the rule!’”

She said she loves the look on their faces “when they complete an experiment – it just makes my day.” She also encourages learning by decorating the students’ lockers based on current units of study.

“Their lockers serve as a resource for them,” she said.

To receive her Outstanding Teacher award, Mosbey was videoed interacting with her students and participated in an interview.

“I chose Fort Worth ISD because I wanted to increase my effectiveness as an educator and work with colleagues from different backgrounds,” she said. “I wanted to add those things to my toolkit. I was also looking for a rich amount of professional growth and development.”

Teaching at Mitchell Boulevard – which she calls a perfect fit for her – “has changed my outlook on teaching. All students are capable of success. It starts with recognizing them as individuals. Unless you develop a rapport with students, you won’t have their trust. Once you have that, they will engage and share their ideas with you.”

The “respect agreement” includes everyone in the classroom. “Students respect students; students respect the teacher; teacher respects the students,” she said.

To encourage respect, she said she makes sure her students pay attention. “I walk a lot, so I want them to make eye contact while I’m teaching,” she said. “It helps me to know they are following me.”

She said she has developed close relationships with her colleagues at Mitchell Boulevard. “We hang out, we go to the movies, we talk. I have tremendous support from my principal. We have phenomenal campus leaders.”

In the fall, she will begin working on her administrative certificate from Texas A&M-Commerce so she can pursue her ultimate goal of becoming a principal.

“I want to share the leadership skills that I have with others so that they can become distinguished and lead to student academic achievement,” she said.

Though she loves serving as a teacher in Fort Worth, she continues to stay in touch with SAU. “We follow the cheerleaders and the baseball team,” she said.

Her time on the cheerleader squad resulted in many fond memories. “We did lots of community service; we went to the schools, we put on cheer clinics, we did Mulerider Move-In and blood drives. I remember after practice we’d all cook dinner together and eat together. We were all very close. I made good friendships through SAU.”

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