MAS Law would like to celebrate Cynthia Cox, our newest MASter Teacher Award recipient. When teaching was calling her name, she answered and found an amazing school that offered so much for both teachers and students. Ms. Cynthia stated that “Creating relationships is my favorite part,” and she has found many ways to relate with her students on a deeper level.
Being a teacher was not Ms. Cynthia first choice, but it certainly was a great decision for her to make. In college, she attended art school and graduated with her BFA in Photography. With her degree, Ms. Cynthia wanted to pursue a career in graphic design but soon realized that sitting behind a computer all day was not what made her happy. Drawing from the inspiration that she acquired from the teachers she had growing up, she decided to become an educator and quickly discovered that she enjoyed being a teacher that students could rely on when there was no one else. Teaching for 16 years, Ms. Cynthia has worked with 4th graders, kindergarteners, and now high schoolers! She stated, “There isn’t much of a difference. The high schoolers are just big kids! I don’t get as many hugs, though.”
Currently, Ms. Cynthia is working at Winfree Academy Charter School in Richardson, TX. Winfree Academy is a dropout recovery school that utilizes a high school curriculum created for each individual student based on their needs. With 4-hour morning and afternoon in-person class sessions, Winfree Academy also offers online classes, allowing students to complete the course at their own pace and not feel rushed or pressured to learn at the same pace of other students. Both in person and online classes aim to allow teachers to focus on students individually, allowing them the ability to assist the students in accomplishing the goals they have set for themselves. Recently, Winfree Academy in Richardson received an “A” rating for the first time because of the execution of these programs and has been able to graduate over 300 students who otherwise would not have been able to receive their diplomas.
Winfree Academy also offers the Courage Program. Created for individuals who struggle with addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, and other metal health disorders, the Courage Program is ran by a licensed therapist who meets with the students after their classes to discuss the curriculum and talk about “real life.”
The Courage Program holds a special place in Ms. Cynthia’s heart. In 2020, she resigned from her teaching career, and a year and a half later admitted herself to a treatment facility for alcoholism and mental health guidance. After completing treatment, it took a moment for Ms. Cynthia to get back into teaching. As soon as Winfree crossed her path, she said it was a Godsend. After her daily classes, she attends the Courage Program with the students to share her journey with sobriety, how long she has been sober, and her accomplishments. She shared, “I want to show them it’s okay to talk, grow, and change. You are never just stuck.” Ms. Cynthia has found that by sharing her story, she is able to connect with her students on a deeper level.
Meeting Ms. Cynthia, learning about Winfree Academy, and hearing how she connects with her students was breathtaking. The way that she uses her own personal experiences to reach students that many other teachers may not have the ability to do is truly awe inspiring. Thank you, Ms. Cynthia, for everything you do for our students and the community. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed, and we are proud to award you with the MASter Teacher Award.