By: Ariana Perry, MHS Independent Study in Journalism Student
As the years pass at Midway ISD there are a number of teachers who continue to passionately lead youth. When deciding who should be honored for the “Distinguished Service Award”, we look deep into teachers’ history and the impact they have left on students whom they taught over the years.
Phenomenal examples of this kind of professionalism are Villages of Twin Rivers residents Tim and Lisa O’Leary. The couple met while teaching at Midway Middle School and were married in 1986. The two have taught and coached within Midway ISD for many years, and both are loved throughout the district.
“We both have a deep passion for our jobs and have been able to build great relationships with our students,” Lisa said.
Lisa grew up in McGregor and graduated from Baylor University. Soon after, she accepted her first teaching position at De Soto Jr. High. She taught there until 1983 when she began at Midway.
“A memorable accomplishment was earning teacher of the year and a lifetime PTA membership,” Lisa said.
Lisa coached and taught at the middle school until 1991 when she accepted a job as a physical education teacher at Woodway Elementary. After coaching and teaching for 33 years, Lisa retired in 2014, but did not stay retired for long; soon after she returned as a part-time PE teacher at Spring Valley Elementary.
Tim grew up in Long Island, New York and was recruited by Hardin Simmons University in Abilene to play Division 1 soccer. He was later inducted into Hardin Simmons Universityʼs Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. Tim began coaching varsity soccer in 1983, along with coaching the freshmen and junior varsity teams. He was also Midway’s first UIL soccer coach and led teams to highly-successful seasons.
“The highlight of coaching was winning the state soccer championship,” Tim said.
He and the 2002 State Championship Team were inducted into the Midway Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. He coached for 31 years before retiring in 2014. Not long after retirement he returned to part-time teaching physical education at River Valley Intermediate, then moved to coaching soccer part time, once again, at University High School.
The O’Learys have left quite an impact on MISD and are excited to accept their Distinguished Alumni awards. This award is something they will cherish forever and they would like to thank their students for helping them achieve this amazing honor. Their teaching philosophy demonstrates why they are so cherished by Midway students: “A good teacher affects eternity; they can never tell where his influence stops.”
The O’Leary’s will be honored at the Midway ISD Distinguished Service Ceremony held on Sunday, October 20th from 2-4 PM in the MMS Cafeteria as a part of Midway High School homecoming festivities. Admission is complimentary, with a reception following the brief ceremony. The Midway Alumni Network, a Midway ISD Education Foundation committee, sponsored this event. For more information, visit the Alumni Awards webpage or the Midway Alumni Network Distinguished Service Awards Event Page.