Dave Cone named teacher of the year


Photo by Daniela Perez

Dave Cone poses with his teacher of the year crown and chair.

After making it to the finals three times prior, he was finally crowned as the winner.

Money matters and digital media teacher Dave Cone was named teacher of the 2022-23 school year on Dec. 15 at the annual faculty Christmas party. Cone has advanced to district and will submit an application that will be evaluated on Feb. 9.

Money matters and digital media teacher Dave Cone and money matters teacher Ellery Smith pose by the Teacher of the Year director’s chair during the staff Christmas party on Dec. 15. The program awards teachers with different levels of recognition, and Cone’s award makes him qualified to apply for LISD teacher of the year, the winner of which will be selected on Feb. 9 by the selection committee. (Photo provided by Ellery Smith)

“I was excited because I’ve been here a long time, and this is the third time I’ve made it to finals,” Cone said. “It’s always very stiff competition. My wife was there, I had lots of friends, lots of people saying congratulations [and] a lot of people saying I deserved it. It was definitely a feather in [the] cap of my career.”

Before he was hired at Hebron in 2000, Cone earned an advertising degree. His brother and sister-in-law encouraged him to become a speech teacher. As a teacher, Cone said he teaches students what he learned from his career change experiences.

“My goal is for my students to be successful with whatever they want to do in the future,” Cone said. “When I was in high school, I had nothing figured out, and I don’t want my students to struggle with that as well.”

After eight years at Hebron, Cone was asked to participate in a program to mentor new teachers. Throughout his career, he also taught business information management, finance and principles of communication. 

“He’s very helpful, dedicated and I would especially say he’s loyal,” money matters teacher Ellery Smith said. “He’s very amicable [and] as soon as you meet him, he’s going to make a joke. He always makes light of things, [and is] often seen after school tutoring his kids.”

In his business information class, Cone teaches professional and computer skills by doing mock interviews and student-centered activities.

“He’s a very engaging teacher; he makes the class interesting,” senior Kaitlyn Lutz said. “His class made me go outside of my comfort zone with some assignments. They were interactive assignments with other classmates or teachers around the school.”

Two nomination rounds for the award took place in November. Staff members were sent a Google form to submit candidate names, and administrators then compiled the top five nominees. This year there were six: Sarah Asmar, Mark Axelson, Kris Phillips, Jaden Gorham, Brooke Hartzler and Cone. Principal Amy Boughton gave Cone a chair and a crown for the occasion. Cone said that the award renewed his spirit after the challenging transition back to in-person learning. 

“It made me feel like I was doing something right that other people were noticing,” Cone said. “I try to be a good teacher, a better coworker and help a lot of staff members with things. It reassured me, especially after last year [because] I had a really bad year — it reinvigorated me.”