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Waters Selected as Regional Teacher of the Year

July 8, 2024

EducationPlus and the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) have selected Lindbergh Schools Teacher of the Year Tim Waters as a St. Louis Regional 2024 Teacher of the Year Honoree. Waters is a third grade teacher at Long Elementary School, and was announced as the district Teacher of the Year in April. He is one of 10 teachers in the region selected for the honor.

“When you look up the definition of an exemplary teacher, he checks all those boxes,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tony Lake said. “The one thing I really love about Mr. Waters, is that every time you see him, he always has an infectious smile. He has that presence about him that makes you feel good about yourself.”

These regional honorees will submit their applications to the Missouri State Teacher of the Year program. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will then select a Missouri Teacher of the Year in October 2024. The Missouri Teacher of the Year will automatically become a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year honor. The honorees were nominated by their school districts and asked to submit an application. These applications were reviewed and scored by a committee of nine educational professionals. The nine other honorees include:  

  • Nicole Renee Ashray, Francis Howell R-III School District  
  • Molly Clince, Rockwood R-VI School District  
  • Courtney Duffy, Bayless School District  
  • Beth Griffin, Fox C-6 School District  
  • Thomas L. Harper, Jr., Mehlville R-IX School District  
  • Jennifer Kist, Fort Zumwalt R-II School District  
  • Hester Menier, Wentzville R-III School District  
  • Staci L. Venatta, Northwest R-I School District  
  • LTC (R) Darrell M. Gray, Ferguson Florissant School District

Mr. Waters has been a teacher at Long since 2016, and has 14 years of elementary school teaching experience in all. He strives to create an engaging and supportive learning environment where students feel empowered to thrive and are able to think critically. He also looks for opportunities to foster a positive, inclusive learning environment while inspiring kindness and critical thinking. This year, Waters created a Third Grade Cereal Box Challenge to kick off a math unit on graphing, providing students with an opportunity to serve the community by collecting food items as well.

“I believe in the transformative power of education, and this is deeply ingrained in my approach to teaching,” Waters said. “Teaching is about more than disseminating information. It is about igniting curiosity and fostering growth.”

As a leader in his profession, Waters serves on Long’s Building Leadership Team, is co-adviser of the Long Service Club, and sponsors a Traveling Cafe to support collaboration and positive morale among his fellow teachers and staff. On a district level, he has served as a member of the Report Card Task Force and Lindbergh Learning Team, is a Teacher’s Academy Fellow, and piloted the Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Workshop literacy program.

Colleagues share that Waters is a positive role model who holds his students to the highest standards of success and creates an inviting, engaging and challenging learning environment for them each day. He also supports students outside of the classroom, attending athletic and performance events on a regular basis. His fellow teachers also respect his commitment to lifelong learning, vast knowledge of curriculum, and prioritization of social emotional learning.

“Mr. Waters embodies the essence of an exemplary educator,” said Dr. Christina Phillips, Long Elementary School principal. “He is tirelessly dedicated to nurturing student success with unwavering commitment.”

Waters earned a Masters of Science in Special Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) and Social Studies/Geography, from Hunter College in New York, NY. As one of the Regional Teachers of the Year, he will now be in the running for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s State Teacher of the Year award.