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Paris ISD Names Teachers Of The Year

Lisa Prihoda was named Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Arielle Chastain was named Secondary Teacher of the Year for the Paris Independent School District at a recent dinner honoring teaching excellence. Both will represent Paris ISD in the 2025 Region VIII Education Service Center Teacher of the Year competition.

Prihoda holds a Bachelor of Science in Education with a certification in Early Childhood – sixth grade from Winona State University in Winona, MN. She started her journey in Education with Paris ISD in 2017 and is presently a Second Grade teacher at Justiss Elementary. In 1997, Prihoda became a Texas transplant. After some time spent working in her own business and the corporate world, she had an empty feeling that teaching would fulfill her first love. She began to ask people she knew in Paris, Texas, “Which school would be the best place to apply?” The answer was nearly unanimous. “You need to apply at Paris ISD, Justiss Elementary School, because that district and school are all about the students.” So, Prihoda dug in and received her Texas Educator Certification for grades EC-6 while working as a long-term substitute and a few months later as a special education aide at Justiss Elementary School. In 2017, Prihoda received a full-time position as a third-grade teacher at Justiss Elementary and later moved to her current position as a second-grade teacher, where she has been the past four years. Prihoda greets her students with a smile, a hug, and an “I love you. I’m so glad you’re here today.” She shares that smile, a special gift, a beautiful thing that keeps on giving.

Chastain holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. She started her journey with Paris ISD in 2022 as a seventh-grade Reading and Language Arts (RLA) teacher at Paris Junior High School. Chastain finds fulfillment in witnessing her students’ growth through the beauty of reading and writing, hoping to instill in them a lifelong love for literacy. Most importantly, Chastain aims to support her students in finding who they are as individuals and how her student’s unique gifts can be used effectively in this world. Chastain cherishes the support and unity of her team at Paris Junior High, whose camaraderie makes each day a little sweeter. Teaching has always been Chastain’s calling, a vocation she feels deeply thankful to fulfill in the community of Paris. Chastain spends the remainder of her time serving with her husband in their church’s student ministry, where her passion for students grows. For Chastain, serving her students in the classroom and church is one of life’s kindest gifts. Additionally, Chastain serves with Lamar County YoungLives, is a Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor, and coaches UIL. Guided by her dedication and fueled by her love for her students and her community, Chastain hopes to continue to inspire young minds inside and outside of the classroom.