The Socorro Independent School District earned four honors in the 2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program for outstanding leadership, instruction, community engagement, and a dedication to student success.
Team SISD was recognized at an awards ceremony May 13 in San Antonio for being one of five school districts in Texas that were finalists for the large school district category.
In addition, the SISD Board of Trustees was named a semi-finalist in the school board category and two SISD teachers were named semi-finalists in the secondary teacher lifetime achievement and leadership categories.
“We are extremely proud to have earned four great recognitions for the outstanding work that our teachers, support staff, administrators, and entire team is doing for our students,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza. “To have our Board of Trustees, two teachers, and the district as a whole be acknowledged is a wonderful honor. We will continue our outstanding work to ensure every student succeeds in Team SISD!”
SISD is the first and only school district from West Texas be named a finalist. This is the first year the education award program has been open to school districts across Texas outside of H-E-B markets.
Rebecca McVay-Condra from Montwood High School and Candace Printz from El Dorado High School were among 140 teachers chosen from the state for the semi-finalist award out of the more than 1,400 submissions. They were awarded a $250 H-E-B gift card as a token of appreciation.
McVay-Condra said she was happy that the store recognizes far West Texas educators even though there is no H-E-B in El Paso. She earned the semi-finalist recognition for the lifetime achievement category, a category for teachers with more than 20 years of experience. She has been a teacher for 29 years.
“I am so passionate about teaching,” McVay-Condra said. “I feel fortunate to teach something I love and believe in.”
Printz was honored as a semi-finalist in the leadership category. As part of the application process, she was encouraged to share professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements.
Printz said one of her latest accomplishments was receiving a visit from former first-daughter Chelsea Clinton after winning the national “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!” contest sponsored by Barnes & Noble.
The project will combat trash and pollution in the city through partnerships between the school and community groups in El Paso who will collect, sort trash and recycle items to create art work. Many students were eager to be part of the community project when Printz presented it at her school.
Both teachers said they will enter the contest again next year in hope of becoming a finalist.
“If you don’t try, you’ll never get it. That’s what I always tell my students. I should practice what I preach,” Printz said.
McVay-Condra also said she would like to try again.
“I agree with Ms. Printz, if we advise our students to try again, we do need to be the example.”
The semi-finalist recognition is another honor the SISD Board of Trustees has earned for their outstanding leadership. The board was named the Region 19 Board of the Year and a Texas Honor Board last year.
“We’re honored to be recognized in the HEB Excellence in Education awards,” said Board Trustee Angelica Rodriguez. “There are so many great school districts and school boards in Texas. We are humbled to receive recognition for our work and we thank everyone in Team SISD for contributing to all of these incredible honors.”
As a finalist for the large school district award, SISD received a $5,000 check that it will invest in its Operation Future Ready/WINning programs. A panel of H-E-B Excellence in Education judges visited SISD in February. The site visit included a tour of two SISD campuses, an informal meeting with the superintendent, and a lunch with representatives from the district.