Socorro Independent School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. José Espinoza has been named the winner of the national 2017 Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education.
The award is named after the late Jaime Escalante, legendary Garfield High School calculus teacher profiled in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver,” and the outstanding principal, Henry Gradillas, who championed his vision.
This prestigious national award carries with it a $10,000 individual award as well as $10,000 awarded to the winner’s district. Dr. Espinoza plans to donate his $10,000 to students in the district in the form of college scholarships.
“I am humbled and extremely honored to win the Escalante-Gradillas Best in Education award,” Dr. Espinoza said. “I have repeatedly emphasized that it takes a team to educate a child. By the same token, it takes a team to earn a national education award. Thus, I share this award with our outstanding teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, Board of Trustees, and entire community who go above and beyond every day to ensure the success of our students. Achieving success as a team is what we do best in Socorro ISD!”
Dr. Espinoza was selected from a large pool of elite leaders across the nation who have done more with less, overcome obstacles, boosted achievement levels, and raised the standard of excellence for their schools and districts.
Noted by TheBestSchools.org, “as the 2017 winner of the Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education, Espinoza models for El Paso’s children, who live in the shadow of the Mexican border, a stellar commitment to academic excellence and achievement. His successes in the field of education would make not only his parents, but also Jaime Escalante and Henry Gradillas proud.”
Dr. Espinoza models a “100%…No Excuses” vision of excellence and high expectation of educating and treating all students as if they are our own children. He inspires all SISD stakeholders by sharing his personal experience as a minority, low-income student, which led him to advocate passionately with high expectations for all students including children vulnerable to failure due to poor home environments.
Dr. Espinoza’s desire, ganas, to ensure every student succeeds is evident by the ambitious initiatives he has launched since his arrival in SISD including Operation College Bound. Under Dr. Espinoza’s leadership, SISD has opened three early college high schools in a period of a few years whereas the district only had Mission Early College HS founded in 2006.
Understanding firsthand the struggles of high college tuition, Dr. Espinoza wants SISD students to graduate with not only their high school diploma but also an Associate’s Degree.
He also founded the WIN Academy to provide students struggling in a traditional education setting with more learning time, resources, and support. Dr. Espinoza’s passion to put systems in place that level the playing field for underprivileged children mirrors the uncompromising educational standards of Jaime Escalante and Henry Gradillas.
Dr. Espinoza has an exceptional record of leading students to new heights of scholastic achievement during his 21 years in the field of education as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal, school improvement officer, and now national award-winning superintendent.
Just like Escalante and Gradillas, Dr. Espinoza “Stands and Delivers” for the students and community that he proudly serves.
A special presentation with TheBestSchools.org representatives to award Dr. Espinoza with his prize will be scheduled at a later date in SISD.