Meet Our Persons of the Year

Over the weekend, we announced our Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and Readers’ Choice Persons of the Year with a quiet little sneak peek of the covers of our January issues on social media.

Those issues are hitting news racks and mailboxes now.

Today, we released longer versions of our stories about Park Cities Person of the Year Lyda Hill, Preston Hollow Person of the Year Cindy Brinker Simmons, and our first-ever Readers’ Choice Person of the Year, Episcopal School of Dallas student Isabelle “Izzy” Martin.

All three remarkable women are our Persons of the Year for 2021. 

We usually pick a person or persons of the year every year, but this year, we decided to retool a little bit. We started by asking our readers for nominations, and then later asked readers to vote on those nominations. We also added a Newsmakers of the Year component and featured the Persons of the Year choices in a two-page spread in each issue.

Episcopal School of Dallas student (and dancer) Isabelle “Izzy” Martin has been battling osteosarcoma for nearly two years, but still looks to help others through her work with Austin Street Center and her own cancer research fund.  Izzy garnered nearly 60% of the votes to become People Newspapers’ first Readers’ Choice Person of the Year.

Tomorrow, you’ll meet at least a couple Izzy’s fellow nominees, as well as our slate of Newsmakers of the Year.

“We began the Readers’ Choice Person of the Year process by asking our readers to nominate individuals,” explained People Newspapers publisher Pat Martin. “Then we took those nominations and asked readers to vote. Izzy was an overwhelming favorite, and we’re so pleased to introduce her to our readers — she’s an amazing young lady.”

Editors at People Newspapers chose philanthropists Cindy Brinker Simmons and Lyda Hill as their Preston Hollow Person of the Year and Park Cities Person of the Year, respectively.  Simmons discussed her faith and the loss of her mother at a young age and how those things drive her philanthropy. Hill feels so strongly that “science is the answer” that she’s donated her entire estate to philanthropy and scientific research.

“Picking a person or persons of the year has been a tradition at People Newspapers for many years and a great way to recognize those who contribute so much to others,” said People Newspapers editor William Taylor. “Adding a readers’ choice component this year took that recognition to a new level and drew outstanding support from our communities. Thank you to all who nominated and voted.”

The January issues of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People can be found in news racks and will be delivered to residents in those communities. Digital flipbooks of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People can be found at, and extended interviews with Simmons, Martin, and Hill can be found here.

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

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