Pebble Hills Elementary School teacher Heather Holmes and Ysleta High School teacher Allen Haynes were named YISD’s top 2017-18 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, respectively, at a special gala Friday, May 5, at the Centennial Banquet & Conference Center at Fort Bliss.
In addition, Martin Olivas from YISD’s Service Center was named the 2017-18 Support Employee of the Year.
Holmes, a second-grade teacher at Pebble Hills Elementary School, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree from UTEP, and has taught pre-K and elementary school students for six years.
Growing up, Holmes said there were few opportunities and resources available to her, and it motivated her to become an educator.
“I believe every student can be successful in life,” she said. “My mission is to inspire and be a support system to students so they, too, can attend the college of their dreams and achieve their long-term goals.”
Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Karla Bazán (Del Valle ES), Jessica Fette (Cedar Grove ES), Bernadette Rey (Ysleta Pre-K Center), and Nancy Gonzalez-Uribe (Scotsdale ES).
Haynes, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Park University and a master’s degree from Fort Hays State University, says teaching is his passion.
He is the JROTC instructor at Ysleta High School, which he pursued after retiring from active duty in the U.S. Army and volunteering at Parkland HighSchool’s JROTC, with enthusiastic support from his daughter.
“My personal passion starts with teaching. I make it a daily objective to teach at least one thing to someone every day of my life,” Haynes said. “I also value lifelong learning, educational research, and physical fitness.”
Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were Laura Fabela (Valle Verde Early College HS), Nicholas Flood (Indian Ridge MS), Rebeca Montes (Young Women’s Leadership Academy), and Stephanie Bocanegra Morales (Bel Air HS).
Olivas, who began working 30 years ago at YISD as a custodian, is currently an equipment operator/roofer at the Service Center.
Aside from his job duties, Olivas volunteers every year for the student/parent Thanksgiving Luncheons at YISD campuses, where he helps serve, clean tables, andthrow away trash. He also donates gifts and winter jackets to YISD students in need each Christmas.
Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were: Karla Acosta (representing Bel Air MS); Melissa Pacheco (Young Women’s Leadership Academy); Armando Valdez (Eastwood HS); and Miguel Vasquez (Camino Real MS).
Holmes and Haynes will now go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year competition for Region 19. A list of all 2017-18 YISD campus Teachers of the Year and Support Employees of the Year can be found on the district’s main website.