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Walker named Region 18 Texas Teacher of the Year

walkerLamar University graduate student Justin Walker has been recognized as a Region 18 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year for 2014. Walker is a semifinalist for the state-level Texas Teacher of the Year Award. Finalists will be announced August 26.

“There are so many great teachers in our region,” Walker said. “It was a surreal feeling knowing that I was chosen.”

Walker was a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher specializing in marketing education at Midland Senior High School before accepting a position as assistant principal of Goddard Junior High School in Midland for the 2013-2014 school year. Walker is currently earning his Master of Education from Lamar and will graduate in December.

“The Lamar program has allowed me the opportunity to look deeply into why things are the way they are in education as well as how they work,” Walker said. “The professors and instructional associates have been great to work with and have made my experience with Lamar a valuable one.”

Walker, who lives in Midland with his wife, also a teacher, and their nine-month-old daughter, had not always planned on teaching. Walker graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and immediately entered the business world in the field of professional sports marketing. While Walker was happy with this job, he always felt drawn toward teaching. It was the death of Walker’s grandfather, a retired colonel in the Air Force, that made him reevaluate his career path.

“At the funeral, there were people I had never met, and I witnessed all of the lives that he had touched throughout his life,” Walker said. “My grandfather lived his life with a purpose, and right then I knew I had a bigger purpose.”

When Walker learned that he could teach sports marketing, he decided to leave the business world behind and follow his true passion. Walker has since taught courses in business information management, entrepreneurship, marketing dynamics, practicum in marketing dynamics, sports marketing and students in philanthropy. Walker served as the sponsor of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Students in Philanthropy and Be the Change club. He also served as a board member for the National Honor Society and the announcer for Midland High varsity baseball and varsity basketball games.

“Someone once told me that, if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life,” Walker said. “When students leave my class more prepared for the real world than when they entered my class that is the most rewarding part of my job.”