Amy Banks Named The Barney Young Distinguished Teacher

Hockaday is proud to announce that Lower School Science Teacher Amy Banks will serve as The Barney Young Distinguished Teacher, effective July 1, 2024. 
Hockaday’s incredible faculty are at the heart of our School’s legacy of excellence. Our teachers place students first and make the Hockaday experience unparalleled. In 2011, the School established The Endowed Distinguished Teacher Program in recognition of faculty excellence, and we currently have four Distinguished Teachers among our faculty.  
Earlier this year, the School received a generous gift from anonymous donors to endow a new Distinguished Teacher position, which the donors named in memory of our beloved former Life Trustee, Barney Young, whose legacy of service and devotion to education markedly impacted the School.  Mr. Young served on the Hockaday Board of Trustees from 1971 to 1977 and 1990 to 1998 and served as Chair of the Board from 1994 to 1996. In 1997, Mr. Young was made an Honorary Alum, and he was named as a Life Trustee in 1998. From 1998 to 2004, he served as Chair of the Hockaday Tomorrow Campaign.  
Hockaday is proud to announce that Lower School Science Teacher Amy Banks will serve as The Barney Young Distinguished Teacher, effective July 1, 2024. Amy’s joy for teaching and interest in encouraging a love of science in our youngest learners are remarkable. Her devotion to Hockaday girls over the past 20 years is evident daily and visible to her colleagues and Lower School parents in all she does. Amy’s innovative approaches to teaching help our girls develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they become enthusiastic science students. 
Amy has been a teacher at Hockaday since 2004 and teaches Second, Third, and Fourth Grade Science. In addition, Amy created and co-teaches the Fourth Grade Maker Education course “Create, Collaborate, and Innovate” and the new Third Grade course “Science and Social Impact.” Before coming to Hockaday, she worked as a molecular genetics research scientist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX and Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. 
Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with Graduate Certification in STEM from the University of Cincinnati. While in graduate school, she received the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the College of Education.  
In 2018, Amy was awarded the Prentiss Grant to enable summer travel to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. In 2019, she was awarded second place in the Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching, an annual state competition sponsored by the Texas Medical Association.  
Amy has served on many school-wide committees, including the Load and Compensation, Safety, and Program Committees. Amy and her husband, Matt, have a daughter, Kathryn ’15, who recently graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law.   
Hockaday’s first class of Distinguished Teachers – Diane Glaser (Middle School English), Dr. Beverly Lawson (Upper School Science, Science Department Chair), Ed Long (Upper School Fine Arts, Fine Arts Department Chair), and Steve Kramer (Upper School History, History Department Chair) left behind a storied legacy of excellence in teaching. In February 2022, a new class of Distinguished Teachers was named: Brandi Finazzo (Upper School Science), The Lyda Hill ’60 Distinguished Teacher, Darin Jeans (Middle School History), Distinguished Teacher endowed by an anonymous donor, Susan Sanders-Rosenberg (Middle School Art, Visual Arts Department Chair), The Nancy Penn Penson ’41 and John G. Penson Distinguished Teacher in Fine Arts, and Tymesia Smaw (Lower School Faculty) The Lyda Hill ’60 Distinguished Teacher.   
The title of Distinguished Teacher refers to a position and the qualities of teaching and scholarship. The Distinguished Teacher program aims to recognize and reward exemplary teachers, often ones of long-standing tenure, for their life-changing work with students. These teachers’ skills in the classroom, their ability to bring subjects to life, their ongoing research and scholarship, and their impact on their students’ lives make them each deserving of the title.  
Within the private school community, The Hockaday School is an independent college-preparatory day school for girls from grades PK–12 located in Dallas, Texas. Students realize their limitless potential through challenging academic curricula, arts, athletics, and extracurricular programs so that they are inspired to lead lives of purpose and impact.