The Dallas Mavericks and Academy Sports + Outdoors are thrilled to recognize two local teachers for their extraordinary service and hard work throughout the pandemic.

The Mavericks announced recently that this year’s ‘Teacher Appreciation Night’ honorees are Nicole Carryl from Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy and Steven Santoyo from Hillcrest High School.

Carryl is an eighth grade science teacher and Santoyo teaches Honors English.

The teachers were recognized in a game night suite right before the holidays when the Mavericks faced the Minnesota Timberwolves on ‘Teacher Appreciation Night.’

“Tonight’s a celebration for the teachers that are my support teachers, my co-teachers, all of the people behind the scenes that never get a shout out,” said Santoyo, a 2015 graduate of Hillcrest and now a teacher at the same school he once received his education. “I think tonight, we’re celebrating them, too.”

The Mavs have long joined other sports teams across the league to host special nights dedicated to educators. Teachers attending the Dec. 21 game received special discounts on tickets and selected attendees received other special gifts and prizes.

“[Teachers] truly are the ones securing the future every single day,” said Cynt Marshall, who is the first Black woman CEO in the NBA and has long been a staunch supporter of equitable opportunities for teachers and educators. “So to be able to stop and say thank you means everything to us.”

Sunny Shetty with the Dallas Mavericks said Teach For America nominated the two primary teachers recognized at the game “for being outstanding educators in DISD.”

Teach For America is a nonprofit organization that aims to recruit and select college graduates from top universities around the country to serve as teachers. The selected members are known as “corp members,” and they commit to teaching for at least two years in a public or public charter K-12 school in one of the 52 low-income communities that the organization serves.

Carryl and Santoyo received a $250 gift card from Academy Sports + Outdoors, an Academy bag full of Mavs gear, 12 basketballs, and a ball rack for their school, plus additional items from Academy on their wish lists.

“We do it for the lasting impact that we have on our students and the community at large,” said Carryl. “So to get recognized for the work is humbling.”

During the Mavs game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the franchise had all the gifts in the suite to award each educator, and special Mavs’ ambassadors were on hand to thank the teachers for their commitment to young people.

Special guests included Marshall and Dallas Mavericks and NBA legend Rolando Blackman.

Other teachers at the game received various prizes and awards from the Mavericks and Academy, including gift cards and promotional items.


During the Dec. 21 game, the Mavericks also recognized teachers and leaders from Dallas ISD’s Adelle Turner Elementary School. Fans might remember that the Mavs adopted the school earlier this year as part of its Mavs Take ACTION! Plan. The organization adopted the Oak Cliff elementary school through the end of the 2023 school year.

“We are so excited to adopt Adelle Turner as the Mavs school,” said Katie Edwards, who is the Dallas Mavericks Senior VP of External Affairs. “We are going to walk alongside with the school leadership, students and families for many years to come and support them in whatever they might need.”

Through the multi-year Adopt-A-School program, the Mavericks will work hand-in-hand with students and teachers by investing in resources and supplies.

The Mavericks held a coat drive and donated 30 jackets to students at Adelle Turner for the holidays.


Here’s more on the two outstanding teachers the Mavericks recognized as the top North Texas educators this year…

Nicole Carryl
Thomas C. Marsh Middle School, Dallas ISD
8th Grade Science

Nomination: Nicole Carryl was nominated because “she’s experienced a great deal of adversity, but still manages to do an excellent job with her students.” In fact, her staff just voted her teacher of the Year at Marsh Middle School. Ms. Carryl was also involved with an incident involving gun violence on her campus. Teach For America also noted how Ms. Carryl carried a heavy burden teaching during the pandemic. Still, she continued with grace and compassion, with the students always at the forefront of her mind. Teach For America says she has “overall high expectations of herself without giving herself enough credit and grace for all she has accomplished.”

Nicole Carryl: “We do it for the lasting impact that we have on our students and the community at large. So to get recognized for the work is humbling.”

On behalf of the Dallas Mavericks, congratulations, Nicole Carryl!

Steven Santoyo
Hillcrest High School, Dallas ISD
Honors English

Nomination: Steven Santoyo is a first-generation college graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduating, he returned to his hometown of Dallas to teach middle school at Gaston Middle School in Dallas ISD. Steven was born and raised in Oak Cliff and is a proud leader within his community. In his first two years as a teacher, he led the English department while teaching journalism and 7th and 8th grade English, Language Arts, and Reading. After completing his two-year corps experience, Steven decided to continue teaching at the very high school that he attended, Hillcrest High School in Dallas ISD.

According to his nomination, “not only is Mr. Santoyo a fierce advocate for the students he supports, but he has also been an advocate for disability rights as a young person who lives with Type 1 diabetes. He has worked diligently to break down the stigma and stereotypes of those living with this disease by building his own knowledge, creating communities to build awareness and support, and advocating for fair policies. After graduating from SMU with a Master of Education degree and being asked his future plans, he shared that he was committed to fighting for educational equity for kids who look like him right here in DFW. His sister is also a school principal at Uplift Education in Dallas.”

Steven Santoyo: “Tonight’s a celebration for the teachers that are my support teachers, my co-teachers, all of the people behind the scenes that never get a shout out. I think tonight, we’re celebrating them, too.”

On behalf of the Dallas Mavericks, congratulations, Steven Santoyo!

Dallas Mavericks legend Rolando Blackman visits with the two teachers honored in the suite on Dec. 21
Pictured are winning teachers Nicole Carryl and Steven Santoyo
The teachers took home many gifts, thanks to Academy Sports + Outdoors, including 12 new basketballs for their school

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