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Region One ESC hosts 9th annual educator conference

The Region One Education Service Center held its 9th annual educator conference on Oct. 11 at the Region One ESC Conference Center in Edinburg, gathering almost 250 teachers and education leaders for professional development sessions dedicated to transforming classroom instruction.

Teacher and education leadership sessions were led by top educators in the region, representing Harlingen CISD, Hidalgo ISD, La Joya ISD, Mission CISD, Region One ESC and Sharyland ISD.

“There is immense talent among educators in Region One,” said Kelly VanHee, Region One ESC Administrator for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. “This conference empowers teachers and education leaders with the knowledge to transform their classroom instruction and improve student outcomes.”

2024 Regional Secondary Teacher of the Year Denise Rodriguez of Hidalgo ISD presented a comprehensive lesson on classroom climate to participants.

“Teaching for nine years, I felt like I was just doing my thing,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t realize that I have a lot of knowledge to give back to my colleagues. My session leveraged classroom culture and social emotional learning to promote student leaders and collaboration, which is ultimately what we want as educators.”

She said Region One helps unlock educators’ potential and realize that they have a lot to offer.

Veteran educator and social media comedian Gerry Brooks delivered a keynote address on school climate. Brooks shares comedic videos about the world of education with millions via social media.

Mission CISD Math Coordinator LaQuanta Bivens-Hernandez said she is a fan of Brooks and can relate to his social media content as an educator.

“After hearing his whole speech, I learned that he is not just about being funny,” Bivens-Hernandez said. “He reminded us that we are all here for kids. If everything else in the world is chaotic, students should be able to come to school and find solace, dignity, respect and love.”

The Region One ESC Division of Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability provides all members of the educational community with research-based professional learning opportunities, networking, instructional resources and access to highly skilled professionals in support of the highest levels of quality education for all students. To learn more about the division, visit