The Educator, the Medical Professionals, the Parents

People Newspapers announces the 2020 Park Cities and Preston Hollow People of the Year

An educator tasked with shepherding her school through twin catastrophes. Two more are parents and medical professionals.

All were picked as our people of the year for 2020.

People Newspapers chose Thomas Jefferson High School principal Sandi Massey as the Preston Hollow Person of the Year.

“First, a tornado hit her campus in October 2019, that meant a move to the much further away Thomas Edison Middle School,” we wrote in a story that will be published in our January issue. “Then, just as everyone was getting their bearings, the pandemic struck.”

What struck me as important to note about Massey was two things – she is respected by just about everyone she works with (Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa called her a “rock star”), and she refuses to make excuses.

Last September, when I was working on our retrospective on the tornado that hit Preston Hollow, I had a chance to talk to Massey. You can see that interview here. We quoted her again in our January story, because it really speaks to her mindset when it comes to the issues that have faced her students.

“The thing about that is just trying not to make excuses. We do know that the tornado and COVID impacted us, but, you know, we have a lot of pride and we want to do well, regardless of our circumstances. So I just don’t want it to seem like we’re making excuses,” she told me.

Christy Turer

In Park Cities, we honored the resilient medical professionals and parents who were caring for children during a very strange pandemic year.

“During a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic placed immense pressure on healthcare systems and put school districts in difficult positions, many healthcare workers and parents have helped their communities navigate the rough new terrain,” we wrote.

We had two apt interview subjects to illustrate that in Dr. Christy Turer and Dr. Patricia Hicks. Both are doctors, and Turer is also the mother of five young children. Hicks is a pediatrician and one of her children is a teacher with Highland Park ISD.

Patricia Hicks

“During a year that saw a lot of uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, few have helped more to provide stability and navigate the difficult terrain than physicians and parents,” Park Cities People Deputy Editor Rachel Snyder said. “In our community, doctors and healthcare scholars have worked to help solve some of the mysteries of the new coronavirus and help their patients make sound decisions regarding their health during this tumultuous time.

“For their efforts to care for their families and community this year, we selected healthcare workers and parents as our Park Cities People persons of the year.”

Also in the January issue is our annual STEAM special section, which features a look at what several area schools and organizations are doing to engage students in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

The January issues should be in news racks on Monday, and in mailboxes next week.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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