Nov. 22, 2008
El Paso, McAllen teachers named Texas Teachers of the Year
AUSTIN –Christine Gleason, an English teacher at Fabens High School in the Fabens Independent School District, today was named the 2009 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, and Dora Newell, a third-grade teacher at Thigpen-Zavala Elementary School in McAllen ISD, is the new Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Gleason and Newell learned that they had achieved this top honor at a special ceremony and luncheon at the Connally Banquet Hall at the University of Texas Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. Both Gleason and Newell were awarded a cash prize of $5,000, a SMART Board technology package worth more than $15,000, and a commemorative trophy.
Each educator vying for the top honors submitted an application that describes the kind of teacher they are. Secondary Teacher of the Year Gleason writes: "I am a teacher and can relate any piece of literature to teenage life in under 50 minutes. I do it with laughter, poise and integrity. Most importantly, though, I talk to my students. They know I genuinely care about them and their issues. I contribute everything I have every single day because that is what my students deserve."
Elementary Teacher of the Year Newell had this to say: "I am determined that each day each one of my students will get my absolute best. They will remember me ...with a smiling face, a kind heart and a genuine desire to form them into the best citizens they can be. I attend my students’ birthday parties, basketball games, quinceañeras, and graduations—even when it has been many years since they have been my students. My students are always important to me, and I let them know that I will always make myself available to them."
In addition to the state’s top two educators, the other 38 outstanding regional Teachers of the Year were honored. These teachers each received a $500 check and a commemorative trophy. Cash prizes for state and regional Teachers of the Year, totaling $29,000, were provided by AT&T.
"I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to each teacher honored at this annual event. These teachers deserve our thanks, recognition and respect. The work they do every day is shaping the future of our schoolchildren and ultimately the great state of Texas," said Commissioner of Education Robert Scott.
To achieve recognition through this program, a teacher must first be chosen as a campus and a district Teacher of the Year, and ultimately a regional honoree. Statewide, there are 20 regional elementary awardees and 20 regional secondary honorees selected. From this group of 40 teachers, six finalists are chosen and interviewed by an independent panel of judges. The state’s top elementary and secondary teacher is selected from the six outstanding finalists.
Gleason, Texas’ Secondary Teacher of the Year, will advance to compete for the National Teacher of the Year award. The national program, which began in 1952, is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
The Texas Teacher of the Year program, considered the top teaching award in the state, is sponsored by the Texas Education Agency with financial support from the following generous benefactors:
- Association of Texas Professional Educators
- Career and Technology Association of Texas
- Chalk Ink
- Mike A. Myers Foundation
- SHW Group
- SMARTer Kids Foundation
- Texas ASCD
- Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation
- Texas Association of Partners in Education
- Texas Association of School Administrators
- Texas Association of School Boards
- Texas Association of School Business Officials
- Texas Association of Secondary School Principals
- Texas Business and Education Coalition
- Texas Classroom Teachers Association
- Texas Computer Education Association
- Texas Congress of Teachers and Parents
- Texas Educational Support Staff Association, Inc.
- Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association
- Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year
- Texas Federation of Teachers
- Texas Middle School Association
- Texas Retired Teachers Association
- Texas School Public Relations Association
- Texas State Teachers Association
"This program, through the support of our generous sponsors, provides a way to publicly recognize and thank these dedicated and deserving educators," said Scott.
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