Master Teacher Monday is a series highlighting educators who have earned the designation of ‘master teacher’ through Texas’ Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA). TIA encourages school districts to locally develop multi-measure evaluation systems to reward and retain their most effective teachers. Those earning the ‘master teacher’ designation rank in the top 5% of educators in the entire state!
Candace Cain’s data-driven instruction, dedication to her community, and passion for serving scholars have helped her earn TEA’s master teacher designation at Uplift Education in Fort Worth. Now, thanks to this recognition – and the financial reward that comes with it – she can continue to pour into her community and even build her own home.
Read Ms. Cain’s Q&A below.
Tell us a little about your life and career journey.
I am a product of Fort Worth ISD and a proud HBCU graduate from Paul Quinn College. I have two daughters, Rian (15) and Karter (7), and an amazing family that is my support system. I would not be the teacher that I am today without them. I have been in education for 16 years, and I am a master science teacher. I am an inaugural Multi-Classroom Leader (MCL) with 15 years of science experience in the classroom, 10+ years of team lead experience, and 10+ years experience with leading professional developments. I have also served as the summer institute coordinator for four years, a STEM content teacher leader for four years, and a science curriculum writer. I am committed to pouring back into my community through each and every scholar that I interact with every day.
Why did you get into education?
I initially went into education because I thought it would be cool to have summers off to be with my daughter, and I liked kids. Very soon I found that I was immensely invested in the success of my students and that teaching was something that I was passionate about. I had found my calling.
How has being recognized and rewarded as a master teacher impacted your life?
It has been a truly humbling experience. I was in disbelief about the whole thing until it actually happened. I simply could not believe that anyone would give me a stipend of this magnitude just for doing what I loved everyday. It has created some amazing opportunities for myself and my family. We were able to bring our dream of building our first home to fruition.
What is a classroom experience or specific student that has stuck with you?
Teaching my own daughters was a pivotal moment in my teaching career. I have two daughters. My oldest has dyslexia and has always required more assistance when learning new skills. My youngest is a very fast learner and has been reading since she was 3 years old (she was also accelerated a grade). I realized that I wanted to be the teacher that both of my daughters would need. I wanted to ensure that I was addressing the specific needs of my scholars that needed extra help, as well as challenging my scholars that performed above grade level. Everyone grows in Ms. Cain's class.
What is your advice to someone interested in becoming a high-performing educator?
- It is extremely doable (if you are willing to put in the work).
- It requires a high level of daily preparedness.
- If you are not familiar with analyzing data, get familiar with it.
- Respond to your data expeditiously.
- Curriculum is a great starting point; however, it is not going to meet the specific needs of every scholar that you have. You will have to fill in the gaps.
- Find your why and pull from that when your motivation runs out.