January 31, 2015
Alumnus Named Secondary Teacher of Year in Plano ISD
Nov. 15, 2013
During Ramy Mahmoud’s first year of teaching, he sat among the new recruits at a dinner event to hear a speech from the Plano Independent School District's Teacher of the Year.
At that moment, Mahmoud set a goal to one day earn that title. Nine years later, he has.
The UT Dallas alumnus was named Teacher of the Year at Williams High School last December, which placed him among 71 applicants eligible for the district's Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year titles.
He was then selected as the district's Secondary Teacher of the Year during a spring gala .
“The greatest day of my life was the day I got married; the second was the day we had our son. This was a very close third,” he said of the districtwide award. “Actually reaching this goal has given me a sense of gratitude and accomplishment that I did not know was possible.”
Mahmoud graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies after completing the UT Dallas teacher certification program through the Teacher Development Center (TDC). He also earned a master’s degree in science education from the University in 2006.
About Ramy Mahmoud
Recognition: Plano ISD's Secondary Teacher of the Year
Title: Science department head, biology teacher at Williams High School in Plano
Education: Bachelor's in interdisciplinary studies and teacher certification, 2004 and master’s in teaching science, 2006, all from UT Dallas
In addition to a long list of gifts and appearances at events, the recognition gives Mahmoud an opportunity to reach out to his peers and discuss topics in education that are important to him. This month, he will give a presentation to principals and other administrators in the school district about student mindsets.
A biology teacher and the school’s science department head, Mahmoud said he has a passion for the subject. He said the curiosity he had as a young boy for how and why things work never went away.
Mahmoud tries to instill that passion for learning in his students. He runs a "flipped classroom," in which he assigns his online video lectures as homework and devotes class time to applying the lessons.
“Because of its extensive content, science classes have become a major hurdle that students have to surpass on their path to success. Many kids practice tedious memorization with no real application,” Mahmoud said. “My goal has nothing to do with test scores, nothing to do with GPA. My goal is to show them how much biology drives their everyday lives.”
“Mr. Mahmoud’s use of the ‘flipped classroom’ focuses on an active learning approach for students. Such innovative approaches to teaching continue to be a part of teacher preparation at UT Dallas”
The former Comets soccer player credits his experience at UT Dallas with teaching him valuable lessons about time management, priorities and balance. He said he especially relies on the fundamentals in developmental psychology and teaching strategies he learned from the TDC faculty.
TDC senior lecturer Linda Flack, who met Mahmoud when he was a first-year teacher, said he smiles often and has a natural energy that makes his students excited about science. His passion for science and respect toward his students results in positive outcomes, said Flack, a former secondary science coordinator for Plano ISD.
“He helps students of all ranges of abilities, including students who can handle the rigors of research in science,” she said. “He has sponsored students who share his love of science, and some compete in science fairs, from the local level to the international level. On the other hand, he also is supportive of students who require additional attention and care in order to succeed.”
Dr. George Fair, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, oversees the Teacher Development Center. He said the University’s teacher preparation program always has emphasized the understanding and instruction of basic science principals, and it also recognizes the importance of innovation in the classroom.
“Mr. Mahmoud’s use of the ‘flipped classroom’ focuses on an active learning approach for students,” Fair said. “Such innovative approaches to teaching continue to be a part of teacher preparation at UT Dallas.”