Region One Education Service Center Announces Selections of 2024 Elementary, Secondary Teachers of the Year
The Region One Education Service Center (ESC) recognized the region’s district teachers of the year and named the Regional Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year during its Annual Teacher of the Year celebration, held August 2, 2023 at the Region One ESC Conference Center in Edinburg.
Nubia German, 2nd grade teacher at Sharyland ISD was named the 2024 Regional Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Hidalgo ISD 10th grade teacher Denise Rodriguez was named the 2024 Regional Secondary Teacher of the Year.
In German’s nomination essay, she wrote that the most important thing about becoming a teacher is imparting compassion, love and confidence among students.
Throughout her career in education, German continues to prioritize inclusivity and compassion in and out of the classroom. She often incorporates lessons in her instruction to encourage acceptance on awareness days such as Autism Awareness, Cancer Awareness, Down Syndrome Awareness, among others.
At her campus, Donna Wernecke Elementary School, German supports her fellow coworkers as the president of the Courtesy Committee, an organization that fosters community among staff through, celebrations, gatherings and social-emotional guidance.
“I want our campus to feel like a home,” she wrote in her nomination essay. “I am so blessed that I have the ability to help others in need and celebrate their accomplishments.”
Rodriguez, a Hidalgo ISD alum and teacher at Hidalgo Early College High School, started her career in special education. In her nomination essay, she wrote that her experience as a special education teacher led her to set equity and social-emotional learning as her pedagogical priorities.
A leader in her community, Rodriguez supports students and makes a difference by hosting and attending student events and spearheading philanthropic efforts. As the adviser to the National Honor Society, she assists students in organizing toy drives for pre-kindergarten students, educating students on how to give back to their communities and fostering leadership.
She frequently attends district events to support students and connect with families and community members.
“Students will follow the example that is set for them,” Rodriguez wrote in her nomination essay. “As their teacher, I strive to be a great example of a positive member of their community.”
To continue her advocacy for special education and equity, Rodriguez works with a local organization to raise awareness for Autism.
“When it comes to learning, I strongly believe that we learn best when we are together,” she said.
Overall, 54 district teachers of the year were honored during the ceremony.
School systems represented at the gala include Brownsville ISD, Donna ISD, Edcouch-Elsa ISD, Edinburg CISD, Harlingen CISD, Hidalgo ISD, Horizon Montessori Public Schools, IDEA Public Schools, Jim Hogg County ISD, Laredo ISD, La Feria ISD, La Joya ISD, La Villa ISD, Los Fresnos CISD, Lyford CISD, McAllen ISD, Mercedes ISD, Mission CISD, Point Isabel ISD, PSJA ISD, Rio Grande City Grulla ISD, Rio Hondo ISD, Roma ISD, San Benito CISD, San Isidro ISD, Santa Maria ISD, Sharyland ISD, Weslaco ISD, United ISD, Valley View ISD, Vanguard Academy, Zapata County ISD.
In addition to the Regional Star Award presented by Region One, the two regional teachers of the year also received laptops from SHI Public Sector, a $200 check from America’s Choice Fundraisers, a $100 gift card from Gateway Printing & Office Supply, jewelry from Kendra Scott, a free monthly Dairy Queen cake from F&P Brands, a $75 gift certificate and gift basket from Nails 2 Tails, a botana platter voucher from Polito’s, and merchandise from Starbucks.
Each district nominee received a Region One Star Award to commemorate the achievement, a gift card from Dunkin’ or Jersey Mike’s, coupons from Little Caesars, a Dairy Queen Blizzard voucher from F&P Brands, a year-entry voucher from the Museum of South Texas History, bento lunch boxes and goods from Raise Your Hand Texas and $15 Starbucks gift cards from the South Padre Island Convention Center.
District Teachers of the Year are nominated by their school districts and submit an application consisting of essay questions that ask nominees to describe a lesson or unit that defines them as a teacher, describe a project or initiative that has contributed to the improvement of overall school culture, an explanation of how they ensure that education transcends the classroom, what they consider to be a major public education issue, and finally, as a spokesperson for teachers and students what is their message to the profession and to the public. A committee comprised of representatives from various teacher and administrator groups evaluated the essay applications.
Each of the state’s twenty regional education service centers submit their regional elementary and secondary teachers of the year nominations for the Texas Teacher of the Year award, organized by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). TASA will announce the semifinalists on August 14 and the top State Teachers of the Year will be announced on October 20.
A special thanks is extended to our celebration sponsors: Microsoft Surface, Raise Your Hand Texas, SHI Public Sector, Kendra Scott, Little Caesars, Starbucks, America’s Choice Fundraisers, Gateway Printing & Office Supply, Lone Star National Bank, Dunkin’, Nails 2 Tails, the South Padre Island Convention Center, Jersey Mike’s, Polit’s Mexican Restaurant, the Museum of South Texas History and F&P Brands.