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East Texas teacher comes full circle, inspires students to chase dreams

Teacher who overcame learning disorders now teaches special education students and encourages them to accomplish goals
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:54 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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ARP, Texas (KLTV) -They say you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. For one East Texas woman, that was teaching.

It’s a dream she thought she would never accomplish because of her learning disabilities, like dyslexia.

“I never thought that could be a realistic goal for me because I did know the struggles that I had,” says Tisha Yancy, special education teacher at Arp Elementary.

But now she is teaching students facing similar challenges to her own, and showing them that what they say is true: if you believe it, you can achieve it.

In 2008, she graduated from UT Tyler with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education.

“Every semester, I’d pick up my backpack and go, ‘What am I doing? How am I going to get to that end goal?’” says Yancy. “But I ended up getting to the end goal, and surprising myself.”

Even now, Yancy keeps her old report card from junior high school, reminding her where she started and how far she has come.

“It think it just kind of shows where I was at one point in time, and what you can be, and what you can do if you put your mind to it,” she says.

And that is the lesson she teaches to her students.

“I tell them, ‘Hey, I was just like you. I struggled to read, and look where Mrs. Yancy is today,’” says Yancy.

Being a special resource education teacher is a full-circle moment for Yancy. The principal of Arp Elementary, Stephanie Schminkey, saying that makes Yancy an even better teacher.

“For her to be teaching in the field that she is familiar with firsthand will empower her kids and the parents of those students to understand that anything is possible. Whatever they set their mind to, they can achieve,” says Schminkey. “She believes that, and she lives that, and she will instill that in her kids.”

Yancy is now an example to her students that, with hard work and determination, they, too, can achieve their dreams.

“If I can be that inspiration to a student that I’m teaching, then that’s awesome,” she says.

This is Yancy’s fourteenth year teaching. She also holds three different teaching certifications and has been awarded over $6,000 in classroom grants.

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