McLeod Named State Finalist Teacher of the Year

Chris McLeod Named State Finalist Teacher of the Year
Posted on 08/19/2022
This is the image for the news article titled Chris McLeod Named State Finalist Teacher of the YearThe Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) has selected Brazoswood High School’s Rocket Engineering teacher, Chris McLeod, as a finalist for the 2023 Texas Teacher of the Year award. This morning, before the formal announcement, Superintendent Danny Massey, Brazoswood Principal Rita Pintavalle, along with the school’s cheerleaders, drumline and campus and district staff surprised Mr. McLeod with the news during one of his Rocket 2 classes. Chris McLeod joins five other teachers from across the state to compete for the Texas Teacher of the Year.

“Master teachers not only impact their students, but also their school and their community,” said Superintendent Danny Massey. “Chris McLeod is a master teacher. He serves as a facilitator that empowers his students to work individually and collaboratively to learn and solve challenging problems. He’s always there to guide and assist them as much as they need, but he allows his students to question assumptions, to seek out diversity of thought and to continue to develop their own critical thinking skills.”

The six finalists will be interviewed October 20 by a panel of judges composed of representatives of educational leadership associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State Board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year. The panel will select two state-level winners —Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year— and designate one to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony October 21 at Kalahari Resort Resort & Convention Center in Round Rock, Texas, where the 40 Regional Teachers of the Year will also be recognized.

Chris McLeod, Brazoswood High School, Brazosport ISD, Background – Chris McLeod teaches 10th-12th grade rocket engineering at Brazoswood High School in Brazosport ISD (Clute, Texas). During his 11-year career in education, he has taught physics, chemistry, engineering, and a host of other science courses as well as student council and teen leadership. McLeod’s classroom is a place of collaboration and “organized chaos” as groups dive into research, design, and fabrication, with teams routinely meeting with local industrial and manufacturing businesses as they develop their rockets. His students have hosted design reviews with professionals from Blue Origin, SpaceX, NASA, Dow, BASF, and many other companies. His teams have consistently earned praise on their research and design of high-power hybrid rockets and are often in communication with university rocketry teams. “One of the highlights of my year is taking students to NASA for design reviews,” McLeod said. “Students have spent months coding computer models to predict the dynamic behavior of a rocket. However, they still have a hurdle to cross before building anything — a full-fledged review with an engineering panel at the Johnson Space Center. In this moment, those students must prove their work to the professionals. No classroom, no lecture, no teacher help — it is student and engineer, discussing, planning, and proving their system with people currently working to send astronauts back to the moon. How cool is that?” McLeod earned his BS in Marine Science from Texas A&M University. He currently serves on a safety review board for the Spaceport America Cup — an international university rocket competition.

Brazoswood Principal Rita Pintavalle stated, “We are all very proud of Mr. McLeod, but not surprised that he has reached this level of recognition. After a short time in Chris’s classroom, you can easily see the connections he makes with his students and how they are hooked from the moment they enter his classroom. He takes individual students and creates high functioning collaborative teams, all within a few month’s time.”

Chris McLeod

The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in classroom education since 1969. The program, facilitated by TASA since 2011, annually recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching. In 2015, Texas Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples of Amarillo ISD became the second Texas teacher to be named the National Teacher of the Year. Learn more at

The Texas Teacher of the Year program operates with financial support and in-kind contributions from the following:

Premier Sponsors
Imagine Learning

Platinum Sponsors
Raise Your Hand Texas
The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)

Gold Sponsors
Capturing Kids’ Hearts
Centric Learning
Texas AFT

Silver Sponsors
Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)
Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP)
Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA)
Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA)
Texas PTA
Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)
Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA)

TASA is the professional association for Texas school superintendents and other administrators. The mission of the organization, which focuses on professional learning, advocacy and member engagement, is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students.
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