An El Paso educator has been named a finalist for a 2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, spotlighting him as one of the best educators in Texas.
John Gable, a welding instructor at Thomas Jefferson High School in the El Paso Independent School District, was presented with a $1,000 check for himself and a $1,000 check for his school. The honor was kept a surprise from the teacher, who learned he was a finalist when H-E-B representatives visited his classroom with treats and cash prizes.
For the first time this year, the 15-year-old program began accepting applications statewide and named the first-ever El Paso finalist.
As a finalist in the Lifetime Achievement Secondary category, Gable has the opportunity to compete at the statewide level against four others in his category for a cash prize of $25,000 for himself and $25,000 for his school.
H-E-B’s Excellence in Education is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas, and among the largest in the nation.
All finalists are invited to San Antonio on May 12-13 to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling $430,000.
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 asks customers, Partners (employees) and community members to nominate teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards in Texas. Each nominee is sent an invitation to complete an application online and is asked about their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom.
A team of judges reviews the applications, narrowing the field to semi-finalists. From that pool, five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators, and university and community leaders not affiliated with H-E-B select 40 teacher and principal finalists. Finalists and their schools receive a cash prize of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category.
Three separate panels select eight school districts and five early childhood facilities as finalists, awarding $2,500 to $5,000 in cash prizes. Up to five school boards may also be recognized, and awarded $5,000 towards the district they serve. Additionally, one or more school boards may receive a special judge’s award totaling up to $25,000. Site visits are conducted to determine winners.
Teacher and principal finalists are invited to San Antonio in May to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling more than $400,000. A statewide panel of judges not affiliated with H-E-B conducts a personal interview with each finalist to select winners.
Eight winners — two principals and six teachers — will be 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 13.
Each winning principal—one elementary school and one high school—will each receive $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools. The winning large school district will receive a $100,000 cash prize and the winning small school district will receive $50,000. The winning Early Childhood Facility will receive $25,000 and a school board could be awarded up to $25,000.
The six winning teachers will include one elementary and one secondary teacher in each of three categories:
The Rising Star Award — honors exceptionally promising teachers with less than 10 years of experience.
These winners will each receive a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their schools.
The Leadership Award — honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. These winners will each receive a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their schools.
The Lifetime Achievement Award — salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. These teachers will each receive $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools.