By Laura Acuff, Student Reporter
The Texas Classroom Teachers Association has named Evette Orren, ACU adjunct professor and Abilene Independent School District special education teacher, the 2007-08 Faculty Representative of the Year.
First nominated by her peers in the local chapter of TCTA, Orren was then evaluated by a committee of judges who assess all state nominees to select a single award recipient for recognition at an annual TCTA convention in February.
“I’m very, very humbled by this award, and I just want to thank everybody who has taken an interest in it,” Orren said.
Currently serving as secretary in the local TCTA chapter, Orren has been a member of the organization for about 30 years and feels it important for teachers to be members of professional organizations such as TCTA, since they offer both legislative information and a career “safety net,” she said.
“She goes above and beyond trying to ensure that teachers, whether they’ve been teaching for many years or are new to the profession, know that being a part of an organization is beneficial,” said Kristina Tirloni, a spokeswoman for TCTA. “She makes it such a priority to let people know that they need to be a part of an organization. We’re very fortunate to have her as a member.”
Orren, who has been teaching for 32 years, graduated from ACU and now works as a K-2nd grade special education teacher at Ward Elementary School, teaches night classes on Mondays and Tuesdays at ACU and works with the Region 14 Service Center to provide educational services to surrounding areas.
“I guess I just like to stay active and involved,” Orren said. “I think that’s a calling. I think it’s a ministry. I feel very confident and without a doubt, I tell you that I was led by the Lord to do what I’m doing.”
Orren said she first received her commission following her last final at ACU from a professor who wanted her to take part in a new program for special needs students in Texas. Orren, however, had other plans. She wasn’t interested in taking anymore hours. But when the professor visited her house
for one final effort to persuade her the morning before she headed home for the holidays, Orren committed to consider it thoughtfully and prayerfully. Still, she wasn’t optimistic.
“I said, ‘Dear Lord, if you want me to do this, you’ll have to hit me in the face,” Orren said.
She said almost immediately, God gave her an answer. As soon as she arrived home, she went to visit the school where her mother served as principal. Two children with down syndrome met her and led her to an assembly where a performance was about to begin.
“That whole Christmas program- I tear up telling about it- that whole program was put on by special needs children,” Orren said. “And if that wasn’t a quick sign from God – in a matter of hours. I just credit it all with him. I just think that it was definitely a God-thing.”