One hundred fifty-three educators at Longview ISD filled the theater inside Longview High School waiting for a special envelope that would hold an amount ranging from $700 to $18,000.

Inside each envelope was a bonus from the 2021 Longview Incentive for Teachers program that came out from district’s local funds to reward the staff for going above and beyond in their classrooms. LISD distributed a total amount of $3.1 million in incentive pay for the teachers on Thursday.

Coming into the event none of the teachers knew the amount of money they were about to receive.

Kim Hatten and Brandis Jamerson, two eighth-grade teachers at Judson STEAM Academy, Longview ISD alumni and childhood friends, were the recipients of the highest amount given. Both opened the checks at the same time and were honored to receive the recognition.

“We’ve known each other since we were kids. For us to have this opportunity to now work together. Again people see things and they go through with it and it actually works, just know it’s a part of God’s plan,” Jamerson said. “We go to work and have a good time and for this to be the result, I mean ‘what can you do but be happy.”

In appreciation to LISD and work colleagues, Jamerson said she is thankful and wants to let them know the money is a blessing.

“I just want to thank everyone that is involved, you had a vision and just have accomplished it because you have touched hearts, families and have been a huge blessing,” she said.

Jamerson brought her son Bryson who was by her side during her entire experience. She said she is immensely grateful for the check and will be using it to provide for her son.

“It’s going to be such a blessing. We’re in the market for a house now and it’s just me and my son Bryson, so when I look at the big picture, this is going to be a game changer for us. The fact that I will be able to do things for him that I might’ve not been able to do before,” she said.

Filled with emotions building up, Bryson burst into tears in awe of his mother for receiving the recognition.

“I’m happy for her because she has worked so hard and I’m really glad she got this paycheck because she has been working really hard for us,” Bryson said.

LISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said he is proud of all the educators who received the check and are well deserving of the money.

“I am so happy but I am proud that every one of them are associated with Longview ISD. We’re about educating kids, and we do that with great teachers. Everybody here today is a great teacher, because that money was for the results of their teacher,” he said. “Every person in there had students that were successful and we’re awarding them for it, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Wilcox said another distribution is set to happen in May, but unlike this one that came out of local funds, the next will come out from the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA).

For details on how teachers were chosen for amounts, go here.

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Bilingual Multimedia Journalist

Education Reporter for Longview News-Journal and Tyler Morning Telegraph, covering a majority of school districts in East Texas. Story idea? email me at aconejo@tylerpaper.com