Allison Buckingham

Kerr Middle School, Burleson ISD

Teaches: Science Education: Bachelor of Science, Geology, State University of New York at Albany Experience: Eight years

Allison Buckingham was a zookeeper before she became a schoolteacher.

Please, no jokes.

Buckingham worked in the Fort Worth Zoo’s Texas Wild exhibit, where she spent a lot of time in the children’s zoo, learning from mentors there, and gradually figuring out she wanted to go into teaching.

“I just worked really well with children,” she says. “Also, I come from a family of teachers, so it really wasn’t that farfetched to become a teacher.”

Buckingham obtained her alternative certification and began teaching science in 2006 at Kerr Middle School in the Burleson school district. “They kind of took a chance on me, and I’ve definitely worked my way up through there,” says Buckingham, the Burleson ISD’s secondary teacher of the year this year.

Miller Beaird, her principal at Kerr, says Buckingham has been able to merge science with a passion for children. “She makes it come alive,” he says.

Parent Sheree Chapman, in nominating Buckingham, wrote, “She makes it her personal mission to make sure that my son is always excited to be in her class. He gets excited about learning when he’s in her class.”

Getting started was scary, Buckingham says.

“I kept observing other teachers,” she says. “It just comes down to being a creative person. I’m easy to get along with. And science is fun for kids anyway.”

What advice would she give parents to help their children in school?

“Getting organized is key,” she said.

Off the clock, you’ll find her, a mother of a 5-year-old and 1-year-old, working in her Burleson community, enjoying the outdoors, cooking and travelling. “I guess I’m pretty normal.”