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Draper Teachers Presented with Excellence Award


Teacher reacts to winning award.

Draper English Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Jessica Brown and Paraprofessional Ms. Colette Koop were surprised with a prestigious award. 

Presented by Alfredo Castrejon on behalf of the Dallas County Juvenile Department, the two teachers received the “Making a Difference” award for their exceptional service to the community.

Teachers pose for photo with award.

Castrejon’s daughter, Savdi, often spoke highly of these teachers to her father, prompting him to nominate them for this award.

“She told me that their daily hugs and small things, like asking about her day, really lifted her up,” Castrejon said. “Both teachers were selected because we believe that teaching is a gift. The success of every professional starts in the classroom. Mrs. Brown and Ms. Koop demonstrated their passion without expecting any kind of reward.”

Father and daughter present award to teachers.

Castrejon says that establishing a relationship with members of the community is vital because it highlights how important it is to come together as one to impact the overall community.

“Savdi talks about how patient Ms. Brown and Ms. Koop are with her when she does not understand something,” Castrejon said. “She describes them as people who ‘love to teach’ and that they ‘understand kids.’”

Teachers react to receiving award.

The teachers had no idea they were receiving the awards. The campus administrators and the two teachers’ students helped surprise them with the honor.

“Learning that Savdi’s father nominated me for this special award was such a great reminder that these really are OUR kiddos,” Brown said. “It takes teamwork and dedication to help students grow towards their success and just being recognized is so humbling!”

Teacher thanks student for award.

This is Koop’s first year in education.

“This award was very validating for me as a new educator,” Koop said. “I am still working toward my bachelor’s degree in education, so knowing that I am already making a difference in these children's lives has motivated me to finish school and continue my path as an educator.”

Teacher thanks student for award.

Draper Intermediate School Principal Beth Craighead helped to set up the surprise.

"These are two of the best teachers," Craighead said. "I am so proud of the impact they’ve made on Savdi that lead to them receiving this honor. They are the Wylie Way!"

If you know someone who makes an impact in the community and would like to nominate that person for DCJD’s “Making a Difference” award, email

“It is important to recognize those who have a passion for what they do and that their acts of kindness have a long-term effect on others,” Castrejon said.

Class of students pose for photo with teachers.