H-E-B handed out nearly half a million dollars in awards Sunday night to educators, individual schools and districts, thanking them for the hard work they do every day and the incredible results they produce.
The grocery store chain’s Excellence in Education Awards program has handed out more than $5 million to educators, schools and districts across the state since it began in 2002. It’s the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas and one of the largest in the nation.
“No profession bears more responsibility than that of a teacher or school administrator,” Charles Butt, H-E-B chairman and CEO, wrote in his welcome message in the program for Sunday night’s event held at the downtown Austin Hilton. “We appreciate the contributions made not only by tonight’s honorees, but also by thousands of other Texas teachers and administrators who are working together to provide a top-level education to our state’s children.”
This year, in celebration of the program’s 10th anniversary, H-E-B added a new category: the H-E-B Fit Campus award. Ten schools from around the state were honored and received a $10,000 grant.
Like every year, H-E-B honored teachers in three categories - Rising Star, Leadership Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award – based on years of experience. Principals are also eligible for awards in elementary and secondary categories. Districts are recognized in large and small district categories.
H-E-B launched the program nearly a decade ago in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators as a positive way to support public education in Texas.
“TASA is proud to participate in this awards program that recognizes the hard work and expertise of Texas educators,” said Johnny Veselka, executive director for TASA. “Through the generosity of H-E-B and Mr. Charles Butt, teachers and principals across the state are reminded that they’re appreciated and that the work they do is valued.”
More than 5,000 educators across the state were nominated for this year’s Excellence in Education Awards. H-E-B begins the process by asking customers, employees and community members to submit the names of their favorite teachers, principals and districts. Each nominee receives a letter with instructions on filling out the online application. The application asks for information on a nominee’s professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements.
Judges from the Colleges of Education at Trinity University and Texas State University reviewed more than 800 completed applications and narrowed them to 244 semi-finalists. Five regional judging panels made up of former winners, administrators and university and community leaders chose the 40 statewide finalists, who were notified during surprise visits to their schools. Each teacher finalist received a $1,000 check for themselves and a $1,000 grant for their school. The principal finalists received a $1,000 check for themselves and a $2,500 grant for their school.
2011 H-E-B Excellence in Education Winners and Finalists
Rising Star – award for teachers with less than 10 years of classroom experience. Winners receive $5,000 for themselves and $5,000 for their school.
Elementary winner: Lindsay Richard, Wilderness Oak Elementary School, North East ISD
Kimberly Buskirk, Gardens Elementary, Pasadena ISD
Jennifer Garcia, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School, Del Valle ISD
Vanessa Rincones, Sam Houston Elementary, Harlingen CISD
Christy Zamora, Flour Bluff Early Childhood Center, Flour Bluff ISD
Secondary winner: Nghia Le, Washington High School, Houston ISD
James Butler, Uvalde High School, Uvalde CISD
Penny McCool, Lee High School & STEM Academy, North East ISD
Jason Sabotin, Arlington Heights High School, Fort Worth ISD
Jennifer Welch, Cunningham Middle School, Corpus Christi ISD
Leadership Award – for teachers with 10 to 20 years of classroom experience. Winners receive $10,000 for themselves and $10,000 for their school.
Elementary winner: Jimmie Lynn Walker, Cambridge Elementary School, Alamo Heights ISD
Cindy Cormier, Jan Schiff Elementary School, Fort Bend ISD
Michael Massad, Sr., Patton Elementary, Austin ISD
Martha McLeod, Fulton 4-5 Grade Learning Center, Aransas County ISD
Michael Sweet, Carman Elementary, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
Secondary winner: Rachelle Grace, McAllen Memorial High, McAllen ISD
Carol Briggs, Westfield High, Spring ISD
Melissa Cooper, Murchison Middle, Austin ISD
David Foss, Alamo Heights High, Alamo Heights ISD
Judy Holmgreen, Alice High, Alice ISD
Lifetime Achievement – for teachers with more than 20 years of classroom experience. Winners receive $25,000 for themselves and $25,000 for their school.
Elementary winner: Richard Landmann, Forest Ridge Elementary, College Station ISD
Jayne Doxsey, Reeces Creek Elementary, Killeen ISD
Diana Maxwell, Fort Sam Houston Elementary, Fort Sam Houston ISD
Dora Newell, Thigpen-Zavala Elementary, McAllen ISD
Belinda Silva, Menger Elementary, Corpus Christi ISD
Secondary winner: Yolanda Fernandez, Del Rio High, San Felipe Del Rio CISD
Linda Colman, Cuero High, Cuero ISD
Janice Cuccia, Fox Tech High, San Antonio ISD
Carole Smithwick-Kiebach, Seven Lakes High, Katy ISD
Ella Whitley, Midway Middle, Midway ISD
Principal Award – one elementary school and one secondary school principal each received $10,000 for themselves and $10,000 for their school.
Elementary winner: Galen Hoffstadt, Luther Jones Elementary, Corpus Christi ISD
Dolores Cisneros-Emerson, Morningside Elementary, Brownsville ISD
Levinia Lara, Hoffmann Elementary, Northside ISD (San Antonio)
Ann Lilie, Summitt Elementary, Austin ISD
Erin Tite, James F. Bay Elementary, Clear Creek ISD
Secondary winner: David Gonzalez, George Washington Middle, United ISD
R. Scott Allen, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Houston ISD
Michael Cardona, Lee High, North East ISD
Patricia Castillo, Cunningham Middle, Corpus Christi ISD
Charles Pickitt, Richardson High, Richardson ISD
Statewide District Award – the large district category winner (4A and 5A) receives $100,000 and the small district category winner (1A 2A, 3A) receives $50,000.
Large district winner: Harlandale ISD, Superintendent Robert Jaklich
Large district finalists:
Brownsville ISD, Superintendent Brett Springston
Conroe ISD, Superintendent Don Stockton
Edinburg CISD, Superintendent Rene Gutierrez
Mesquite ISD, Superintendent Linda Henrie
Small district winner: Splendora ISD, Superintendent Thomas Price
Small district finalists:
Aransas County ISD, Superintendent Joseph Patek
Argyle ISD, Superintendent Telena Wright
Statewide Fit Campus Winners - Each campus receives $10,000 toward implementing a new health and fitness program or enhancing a current program.
C.D. Fulkes Middle, Round Rock ISD, Principal Nancy Guerrero
Tejeda Middle, North East ISD, Principal Brenda Shelton
Friendswood Junior High, Friendswood ISD, Principal Dana Drew
Fulmore Middle, Austin ISD, Principal Lisa Bush
Irene C. Cardwell Elementary, San Felipe Del Rio CISD, Principal Linda Guanajuato-Webb
Pleasant Hill Elementary, Leander ISD, Principal Lana Collier
Rodriguez Elementary, Seguin ISD, Principal Yomeida Guerro
Solomon P. Ortiz Elementary, Brownsville ISD, Principal Sandra Lopez
South Belt Elementary, Pasadena ISD, Principal Candy Howard
Webb Middle, Austin ISD, Principal Rey Garcia