HOUSTON- Recently, H-E-B announced statewide winners of the 13th annual H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards during a banquet at Houston’s Royal Sonesta Hotel. At the ceremony, H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt personally handed out $430,000 in cash awards and grants, and congratulated eight educators, two school districts, one early childhood agency and a public school board for being among the best in Texas.
Tom Brokaw delivered the keynote address to a ballroom packed with hundreds of educators, elected officials, community leaders and H-E-B employees. Brokaw is a legendary journalist, author and news anchor best known for his role as anchor of NBC Nightly News for more than two decades.
This year, H-E-B added a new category to the awards program to honor a public school board whose members demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to the children of the district they serve. The following winners were selected from a pool of 58 finalists by judges who include former winners, school administrators, and university and community leaders.
The 2014 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Winners Are:
The Rising Star Category recognizes teachers with less than 10 years of experience. Winners received a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their school.
Rising Star Elementary: Celena Miller, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Pharr, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
Rising Star Secondary: Mary Lagleder, Earl Warren High School, San Antonio, Northside ISD
The Leadership Category honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. Winners received a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their school.
Leadership Elementary: Nicholas Solis, Hillcrest Elementary, Austin, Del Valle ISD
Leadership Secondary: Bart Taylor, A&M Consolidated High School, College Station, College Station ISD
The Lifetime Achievement Category salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. Winners received $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their school.
Lifetime Achievement Elementary: Connie Bagley, Crockett Elementary, San Marcos, San Marcos CISD
Lifetime Achievement Secondary: Rosbel Peña, Alton Memorial Jr. High School, Alton, Mission CISD
Winning principals received $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for each of their schools.
Principal Elementary: Gladys Graves, Chilton Elementary, Chilton, Chilton ISD
Principal Secondary: Dr. Jason Johnston, Maurine Cain Middle School, Rockwall, Rockwall ISD
The winning early childhood facility received a $25,000 cash prize.
ChildCareGroup, Dallas, TX: Victoria Mannes, President
The winning public school board received a $25,000 cash prize.
Temple ISD, Temple, TX: Steve Wright, Board President
Small School District
The winning small school district received a $50,000 cash prize.
KIPP Houston, Houston, TX: Sehba Ali, Superintendent
Large School District
The winning large school district received a $100,000 cash prize
Edinburg CISD, Edinburg, TX: Rene Gutierrez, Superintendent
About the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards:
H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas. It has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.
H-E-B asked customers, Partners (employees) and community members to nominate teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards in Texas. Each nominee was sent an invitation to complete an application online and was asked about their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom.
A team of judges unaffiliated with H-E-B reviewed the applications and narrowed the field to semi-finalists. From that pool, five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators, and university and community leaders selected 40 teacher and principal finalists. Finalists and their schools received a cash prize of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category. Three separate panels selected up to 18 school districts, public school boards and early childhood facilities as finalists, awarding $2,500 to $5,000 in cash prizes. Site visits were conducted to determine winners. Teacher and principal finalists were invited to Houston May 2-3 to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling more than $400,000.
A statewide panel of judges conducted a personal interview with each individual finalist to select winners. Eight winners — two principals and six teachers — were announced along with two school districts, one large and one small, a public school board, and an early childhood facility, at a celebratory dinner on May 3.