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Home | Tag Archives: yisd

Tag Archives: yisd

Ysleta ISD named H-E-B Excellence in Education award semifinalist

The Ysleta Independent School District is among 20 high-performing school districts in Texas to be honored as a statewide semifinalist in the 2020 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program for its efforts to enrich the lives of its students.

“We are honored to receive this recognition, and we are thankful to H-E-B for its support of our district and public education in Texas, particularly during these challenging times,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre said. “More than ever, it is imperative for us to provide a positive educational experience for our students.”

H-E-B officials said more than 1,500 applications were received for this year’s Excellence in Education awards program, the largest monetary program for educators in the state.

The awards program spotlights the best practices of teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities, and school boards in an effort to celebrate the passion and creativity of Texas educators.

Dr. De La Torre added. “Learning cannot exist unless students know they have teachers and administrative leaders who care about their education, and whose dedication to pupils and learning is both apparent and paramount.”

Earlier this year, H-E-B also announced that nationally acclaimed Ysleta ISD principal, Dana Boyd, was selected as the 2020 Elementary Principal Excellence in Education Award, winning $10,000 cash for herself and a $25,000 grant for her school.

Boyd served as principal of East Point Elementary School in the 2019-20 school year, but is now principal at Parkland Elementary

In its semifinalist award letter, H-E-B officials said judges were impressed by Ysleta ISD’s extensive professional accomplishments, adding that the district is “helping to shape the future of Texas, and we thank you for your passion and your dedication. You are an inspiration to us all.”

The district also received $1,000 in H-E-B gift cards.

Parkland High student wins STEM challenge in Naval Academy program

Parkland High School junior Abraham Haggerty won first place at the inaugural Virtual Summer STEM program held by the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA).

Abraham not only earned first place in the Cybersecurity, Engineering Design, and Programming Challenge with his STRIKE group, but he was offered a conditional Letter of Assurance for a seat in the Naval Academy’s 2021 Summer Seminar program for his outstanding performance.

Typically, the Naval Academy’s summer program provides rising students an opportunity to look into USNA academics, athletics, and military training during program sessions at the campus in Maryland.

This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, the USNA was the only service academy to switch to a virtual program, which included about 2,500 high-school student participants worldwide who completed team challenges, academic workshops, and morning physical education.

USNA is the prestigious undergraduate college that prepares students to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


Ysleta ISD launches ‘Back To School Central’ website for parents

Ysleta Independent School District officials announced Wednesday the launch a new Back To School Central website designed to help parents better understand what their child’s schooling will look like this fall, including how campuses will incorporate health and safety restrictions into the school day to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Back To School Central is a one-stop shop for parents that features a plethora of helpful, relevant, and timely information for our families as they consider their child’s learning options for the fall,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre.

Via the website, parents can access Ysleta ISD’s newly adopted year-round calendar, as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, which was compiled with parent feedback from the district’s social media pages and the “Ask The District” feature on the district website.

The FAQs cover a wide range of areas, including Ysleta ISD’s campus screening details; students or staff who suspect or are confirmed to have COVID-19; social distancing among students during lunch, P.E., recess, and restroom breaks; classroom and bus disinfection process; school schedules; the use of facial coverings; and a variety of other health and safety issues.

The FAQs also feature extensive information on the two learning models available to Ysleta ISD students this fall: face-to-face Classroom Learning, or Online Learning at home through the improved THEDISTRICT@Home platform.

In particular, parents who choose Classroom Learning for their child now have a new “Flexible Fridays” option: Every Friday, these parents may either keep their child at home for Online Learning, or send them to the campus for in-person Classroom Learning.

“Parents may be most interested in viewing our new “Day In The Life” video on the Back To School Central page, as it shows exactly what students can expect on campus from the time they step onto the morning bus to their dismissal from afternoon classes,” Dr. De La Torre said.

Back To School Central also includes the district’s overall Reimagine Learning educational plan for the 2020-21 school year, which calls for Ysleta ISD schools and administration to “Reset, Reimagine, and Respond” to the pandemic’s transformative impact on education.

The back-to-school website will be updated on Fridays, so parents are encouraged to check it on a regular basis to stay updated on all things related to the start of the new school year.

Ysleta ISD also strongly encourages parents to complete Online Registration, which involves uploading several key documents (proof of residence, immunization records, etc.) needed to finalize registration for their children.

“By now, parents should have completed Online Enrollment, which must be done before they can receive a personalized link in their email to complete Online Registration,” YISD officials said.

Parents are also asked to reach out to the district to confirm whether their child will either return to campus for face-to-face Classroom Learning this fall, or participate in Online Learning at home.

Parents can do so by calling (915) 434-0280 and taking a brief, three-question survey.

For more information about the start of the new school year at Ysleta ISD, visit Back to School Central.

Ysleta ISD 2020-21 schedule gives parents options: Classroom or Online Learning

The Ysleta Independent School District announced Thursday its parents will have the freedom to choose between two options for their children’s schooling this fall: Classroom Learning or Online Learning for the upcoming 2020-21 school year,

“We know our parents have been patiently awaiting news of what our schooling will look like this fall,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre said. “Whether parents choose Classroom Learning or Online Learning, we felt it was important to provide them the opportunity to select the option that is in the best interest of their children and families.”

District officials say that over the next few days, parents will be asked to commit to either Classroom Learning or Online Learning for at least one nine-week grading period.

Ysleta ISD is also prepared to provide 100% virtual learning for all students with its new and improved THEDISTRICT@Home online learning program, if it is led to do so in the event of a substantial spread of COVID-19.

The first option, Classroom Learning, is a face-to-face hybrid plan that calls for students to attend school from Monday through Thursday, while Fridays consist of online learning from home.

Via a news release, district officials shared:

“Ysleta ISD believes there is no safer place for students than at school. By bringing students back to campus, learning loss can be reduced, academic progress can continue, and concerns about the lack of physical, mental, and social activities can be alleviated. It will also provide students with the daily structure, nutritious school meals, and social interaction and connection they need.”

The emergency shutdown of schools this spring also gave Ysleta ISD the opportunity to learn, research, and collect feedback about its THEDISTRICT@Home online learning program – and now, it is positioned to provide a vastly improved and robust online learning experience this fall.”

The second option, Online Learning, will provide live interactions with teachers and students, combined with self-paced learning activities, projects, and assignments aligned with state standards.

“Students will be responsible for learning new content. A numerical grading system will be used to measure student mastery of content and standards. At high schools, grades will be calculated into students’ grade-point averages.

Daily attendance will be taken, and students must log on daily for a minimum of 180 minutes a day for elementary-school students, or 240 minutes for middle- and high-school students.

Hotspots that provide Internet access will be made available to families that qualify.”

Ysleta ISD will also continue to work with local, state, and federal agencies for final guidance regarding health and safety standards, in addition to implementing the following strategies:

  • Staff and students wear masks unless a medical reason prevents their use; cloth masks provided for every student and teacher
  • Contactless thermometers for every teacher, nurse, and bus driver
  • Desk dividers on all student desks
  • Hand sanitizer in every classroom, common area
  • Face shields for all teachers
  • Frequent classroom/common area surface cleaning
  • Frequent hand-washing practices
  • Maintain social distance between student desks
  • COVID-19 symptom screening upon arrival at campuses or before bus entry

Online registration for the 2020-2021 school year begins July 14, and can be completed by parents who have already completed online enrollment.

Students new to Ysleta ISD must complete online enrollment before proceeding to online registration. For more information, visit

YISD suspends Summer Strength and Conditioning program after second coach tests positive for COVID-19

Saturday morning, officials with the Ysleta Independent School District announced the immediate suspension of their Summer Strength and Conditioning Programs for student-athletes after news of a second coach at another school tested positive for COVID-19.

“Until further notice, the Summer Strength & Conditioning program is suspended,” YISD officials shared via a news release.

“We have been notified that a coach at Riverside High School has tested positive. The coach was never in contact with students and has not been at the campus since Monday, June 22. While on the campus, he participated in training. He was properly screened, wore a mask, and maintained social distancing. No other staff members are reporting symptoms.”

The announcement comes almost a week after the district had initially announced the program, aiming to get the district’s student athletes ready for the upcoming fall sports seasons; and only a few days after the suspension of the program at Hanks High after a coach there tested positive for COVID-19.

The news release goes on to state that “…in light of the positive case at Hanks High School and now at Riverside High School, the spike in cases locally, and the Governor’s order to decrease occupancy limits, we believe it is in the best interest of students and staff if we suspend the summer strength and conditioning program until at least July 13th.”

YISD officials say that, at that time, if conditions improve, they will reconsider allowing the program to begin again at that time.

“Please be assured that the safety of students and staff is the highest priority at the Ysleta Independent School District, and we will continue to keep parents updated on any other information affecting our schools and students.”


**For the record:  An earlier version of this story identified the coach as a football coach; YISD officials say that was an error on their part and the story has been corrected.

Ysleta ISD principal Dr. Angela Reyna named best in El Paso region

Dr. Angela Reyna, principal of Parkland Pre-Engineering Middle School, has been named the 2020-2021 Regional Middle School Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).

The honor annually recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students.

“It is my honor and privilege to represent Ysleta ISD and the Parkland community as the 2020-2021 Regional Middle School Principal of the Year,” said Reyna, who is in her first year as principal at Parkland Middle. “The work we do as educators is truly important because we impact the lives of students.

District officials say that Reyna was selected for the honor by demonstrating excellence in four areas: Personal Excellence; Collaborative Leadership; Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment; and Personalization.

“I understand the impact an educator can have because I had many who helped to shape and mold me into who I am today,” Reyna added.

She was nominated by 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year and Parkland Middle math teacher Michelle Sandoval Villegas, who counts Reyna among her biggest supporters in her successful bid for the state’s top teaching award.

Reyna is now eligible to compete for Texas Middle School Principal of the Year, which will be announced later this year.

An educator for 17 years at Ysleta ISD, Reyna has worked throughout the years as a teacher, middle-school assistant principal and principal, and high-school assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, and a master’s degree and doctorate degree in educational administration, all from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Every year, TASSP recognizes principals and assistant principals for exemplary performance and outstanding leadership in several areas, which include:

  • Models continuous professional growth
  • Interacts with others professionally and tactfully
  • Creates a culture of collaboration in which staff members work together as a professional learning community to promote student learning
  • Demonstrates knowledge of learning, teaching, assessment practices, research, and programs that maximize student performance
  • Establishes and maintains a school environment that reflects high expectations for students and staff
  • Creates a school climate that is warm, inviting, safe, and secure

Hanks High School Summer Strength and Conditioning Program postponed due to COVID-19

Tuesday evening, officials with Hanks High School and Ysleta ISD announced that the Knight’s Summer Strength and Conditioning Program would be postponed due to a coach testing positive for COVID-19.

“Earlier today, Hanks High School administration was notified that one of its coaches tested positive for COVID-19,” YISD officials shared via an emailed news release.

“This coach has not had contact with students, but did attend a training meeting with other coaches on Monday, June 22, at the Hanks High School auditorium. At this meeting, all coaches were pre-screened, wore masks and maintained social distancing guidelines.”

Officials add that after the meeting, a group of five coaches – including the one who tested positive – moved boxes containing equipment into storage at the stadium fieldhouse while wearing masks.

As a precaution, the four other coaches who helped move the boxes are being tested for COVID-19 and self-isolating while they await their results.

“Please be assured that the safety of staff and students is the No. 1 priority at the Ysleta Independent School District, and we will continue to keep parents updated on any other information affecting our schools and students,” district officials added.

This announcement comes on the heels of the district’s announcement on Monday that schools would be holding their individual  Summer Strength and Conditioning Program starting Wednesday.

Ysleta ISD announces start to voluntary summer conditioning programs

Monday morning, Ysleta Independent School District officials announced the start of on campus summer strength and conditioning programs for their area schools.

The Summer Strength and Conditioning Program for student athletes is scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 24, at Ysleta Independent School District campuses.

“The program is voluntary, and will adhere to all safety and health precautions designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” YISD officials shared.

“Please be assured the safety of students and staff remains the No. 1 priority at Ysleta ISD, and we will continue to monitor current local and state data health trends as they relate to our students and schools.”

For information regarding YISD athletics and the upcoming seasons, click here.

For information regarding the UIL guidelines on conditioning, workouts and COVID-19, click here.

Ysleta ISD teacher honored with statewide award for excellence

Eastwood Knolls International School history teacher Albert Peinado is one of 16 teachers in the state – and the only one in El Paso – to win a 2020 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Award.

Peinado was honored for “exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development, and extracurricular programming at their schools.”

In particular, Peinado received the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award for outstanding work at Eastwood Knolls IS, where he has taught for four of 13 years at Ysleta ISD.

Peinado, who currently teaches Texas history through dual-language instruction in English and Spanish, is the first Ysleta ISD teacher to win this prestigious Humanities Texas award in its 19-year history.

Prior to becoming a teacher, he spent 21 years in the U.S. Air Force. His wife, Faviola, is also a teacher at Ysleta ISD.

“My students love coming into my classroom, and I love seeing them come in,” Peinado said. “It gives me great pleasure to hear students and parents alike say that before they had me as a teacher, they disliked history – but now it’s their favorite subject.”

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which aims to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

“Mr. Peinado inspires and motivates his students to succeed in the classroom and beyond,” said Eric Lupfer, executive director of Humanities Texas. “Humanities Texas is pleased to recognize the achievements of Albert Peinado and Eastwood Knolls International School.”

The Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award was established in memory of the former Board of Directors chair at Humanities Texas, and serves as a lasting tribute to her service to the organization and her commitment to the study of Texas history.
More than 700 hundred teachers across the state were nominated for this year’s awards.

During the 2020-21 school year, Peinado and the 15 other award-winners will receive $5,000 and an additional $1,000 for each of their schools to purchase humanities-based instructional materials.

For a complete list of 2020 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Award recipients or more information, click here.

Ysleta ISD announces Class of 2020 graduation schedule

Ysleta ISD will celebrate the accomplishments of Class of 2020 graduates at eight Hybrid Virtual Commencement Ceremonies this weekend.

Each of the ceremonies will be televised from 2-6 p.m. Saturday, June 13, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 14 on KTSM-TV Channel 9.

YISD officials share that each ceremony features personalized video of graduates proudly walking across the stage in caps and gowns, diplomas in hand, to move their tassels from right to left and signify the end of their high-school education.

Also included are pre-recorded speeches by district officials, valedictorians and salutatorians, student performances, and other traditional commencement activities.

The commencement ceremonies will air according to the following schedule:

Saturday, June 13

2 p.m. – Eastwood High School
3:25 p.m. – Valle Verde ECHS
3:55 p.m. – Ysleta High School
4:55 p.m. – Hanks High School

Sunday, June 14

1 p.m. – Del Valle High School
2 p.m. – Riverside High School
3 p.m. – Bel Air High School
4 p.m. – Parkland High School

With the exception of Eastwood and Del Valle high schools – the first ceremonies of each day – all other graduation start times are approximate, as the length of each ceremony varies. Every graduation will air in its entirety.

Viewers have the following four options to watch the Ysleta ISD Class of 2020 graduations, they can tune in locally to KTSM-TV Channel 9; watch online via their wepage, or via the KTSM Facebook page or via Ysleta ISD’s YouTube channel.

The commencement ceremony schedule can also be found on Ysleta ISD’s Class of 2020 webpage and the district’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

YISD announces new principals for Eastwood, Riverside high schools; Elementary school reassignments

In preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, the Ysleta Independent School District announced the appointment of Robert Martinez as the new principal at Eastwood High School, and Maribel Guillen as the new principal at Riverside High School, effective July 1st

Martinez, the current principal at Eastwood Knolls International School, began his career with Ysleta ISD 26 years ago as a middle school science teacher at Eastwood Knolls.

He went on to serve as assistant principal at Mesa Vista Elementary, then as principal at Pebble Hills Elementary before taking on his current position at Eastwood Knolls International. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Sul Ross State University.

Guillen, current principal at San Elizario High School, is a proud graduate of Riverside High School. She began her professional career 22 years ago as a geography teacher at Ysleta High School, and went on to serve as a social studies teacher in both middle school and high school, and as a high school assistant principal and principal.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in educational leadership from UTEP.

Ysleta ISD has also reassigned seven elementary school principals for the upcoming school year, fully confident in their abilities to serve as successful instructional leaders for their new campus communities. They include:

David Medina, current principal at Pasodale Elementary School, has been named the new principal at Eastwood Knolls International School.

Medina, an educator for 21 years, has served as a special education teacher, instructional specialist, and coordinator, as well as an assistant principal, and principal.

He has also taught at the postsecondary level.


Natalie Alvarez, current principal at Marion Manor Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal at Pasodale Elementary School.

An educator for 17 years, Alvarez has also served as a teacher, schoolwide project coordinator, assistant principal, and principal.



Dana Boyd, current principal at East Point Elementary School, has been named the new principal at Parkland Elementary School.

Boyd, a 21-year veteran in education at Ysleta ISD, previously held positions as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal.

Last month, Boyd was named a winner of the HEB Excellence in Education Principal Elementary Award.


Claudia Poblano, current principal at Del Norte Heights Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal at East Point Elementary School.

Poblano, an Ysleta ISD educator for 14 years, has worked as a pre-K and elementary school teacher, schoolwide project coordinator, assistant principal, and principal.



Roxanne Merfa, current principal at Parkland Elementary School, has been named the new principal at Del Norte Heights Elementary School.

Merfa has been an educator for 22 years at Ysleta ISD, serving as a teacher, instructional specialist, assistant principal, and principal.



Sandra Perez, current principal at Del Valle Elementary School, has been selected as the new principal at Hacienda Heights International School.

Perez, a 21-year educator at Ysleta ISD, previously served as a teacher, literacy leader, assistant principal, and principal.



Christopher Puga, current principal at Capistrano Elementary School, has been named the new principal at North Loop Elementary School.

Puga has enjoyed a 13-year career in education, and has worked as a teacher, math and science instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal.

Ysleta ISD announces 2020 Summer Food Service program

The Ysleta Independent School District will launch its 2020 Summer Food Service, which will take place from June 8-25 at 13 campuses to coincide with the dates of the district’s S2TAY@Home virtual summer school.

Officials say that, although the Summer Food Service Program ends June 25, Ysleta ISD plans to continue offering the Grab & Go meal service because it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve school meals into July, officials said.

On Thursdays, children will receive an extra breakfast and lunch meal for Friday.

Summer “Grab & Go” meals will be distributed on a drive-through basis from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday for children under 18 at the following 13 sites:

Hacienda Heights Elementary School, 7530 Acapulco Drive, 79915
REL Washington International School, 3505 Lee Trevino Drive, 79936
Desertaire Elementary School 6301 Tiger Eye Drive, 79924
Constance Hulbert Elementary School, 7755 Franklin Drive, 79915
Bel Air Middle School, 7909 Ranchland Drive, 79915
Del Valle Middle School, 8674 North Loop Drive, 79907
Eastwood Middle School, 2612 Chaswood Drive, 79935
Del Valle High School, 950 Bordeaux Drive, 79907
Eastwood High School, 2430 McRae Blvd., 79925
Hanks High School, 2001 Lee Trevino Drive, 79936
Parkland High School, 5932 Quail Lane, 79924
Riverside High School, 301 Midway Drive, 79915
Ysleta High School HS, 8600 Alameda Drive, 79907

Children do not need to be inside the vehicle to receive meals. However, drivers MUST provide one of the following items to receive school meals for children who are not present:

  • Official letter/email/electronic school application from school that lists child(ren) enrolled;
  • Individual student report card(s);
  • Attendance record from YISD Home Access Center, printed or electronic, that includes names of child(ren);
  • Birth certificate for child(ren) not in school; or
  • Student ID card(s)

Families that previously provided this documentation were issued a Windshield Card as part of the Grab & Go program; they may continue to use the Windshield Card to pick up school meals during the Summer Food Service program.

Ysleta ISD honors 2020-21 Support Employee of the Year

In a special online announcement Thursday, Ysleta Independent School District officials named, Kathleen Gaytan from Pasodale Elementary School the 2020-2021 Support Employee of the Year.

Immediately following the 6 p.m. announcement on Facebook live and the district’s YouTube channel, Gaytan was surprised at her home by her principal, David Medina, and colleagues bearing congratulatory signs and flowers, as well as a parade of vehicles with well-wishers and co-workers honking their car horns in support.

Gaytan, who has worked for the district for four years, is an attendance clerk at Pasodale Elementary School. She routinely goes above and beyond in her duties, including organizing talent shows and helping make decorations and photo backdrops for special school events. In addition to her job duties, she is also resourceful in helping coordinate fundraisers, which have helped pay for school items like student T-shirts and entertainment for school events.

In particular, Gaytan helped organize the sixth-grade lunch banquet and graduation last year at Pasodale Elementary School, raising enough money for robots on stilts, a candy table, centerpieces, and a special slideshow during the event. She also organized a Movie Club every month for students with perfect attendance and no tardies, as well as a pizza party every nine weeks for the class with the best attendance in their grade level.

If asked, Gaytan said her co-workers would cite her positive attitude and contagious smile as her best attributes.

“I work very well with others and have patience,” Gaytan said. “If we do not agree on something, we brainstorm to come up with the best solution.”

Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were: Neri Quiz de Gonzalez (Hacienda Heights ES); Kristin Pacheco (Ysleta Pre-K Center); Javier A. Zaragoza (Del Valle HS); and Rita Althoff (Hanks HS).

Ysleta ISD kicks off registration for virtual summer school

Officials with the Ysleta Independent School District announced the start of online registration for the new virtual summer school program.

The new Summer School via Technology Across Ysleta – dubbed S2TAY@Home – is open to all Ysleta ISD students and slated to start Monday, June 8.

“While the innovative approach to instruction in the S2TAY@Home program works best in a virtual/online setting, Ysleta ISD has created both low-technology and high-technology options to fit the needs of all of its families,” district officials shared. “The program will offer new and innovative approaches to instruction for students in pre-K through high school.”

In addition, the instructional programs and resources available through YISD’s current virtual learning platform, THEDISTRICT@Home, will continue to be available to all students throughout the summer.

“This summer program is simply another way Ysleta ISD aims to deliver excellence and provide engaging instruction throughout the year,” YISD officials added.

For a full catalog of available S2TAY@Home courses or to register students for the summer program, parents should visit their child’s home campus website, or the S2TAY@Home webpage for more information.

Registration for the S2TAY@Home program runs from May 12-22.

Video+Story: Ysleta ISD reveals 2020-2021 Teachers of the Year

Constance Hulbert Elementary School teacher Maria Armendariz and Hanks High School teacher Yvette Gonzalez were surprised at their homes Thursday evening by their principals and colleagues with the announcement that they were named YISD’s top 2020-2021 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year.

Armendariz, a physical education teacher at Constance Hulbert Elementary School, has enjoyed a 31-year career in education, teaching at several Ysleta ISD campuses and the children’s program at El Paso Community College. She has coached a variety of sports over the years at local middle and high school campuses, including volleyball, basketball, softball, and tennis. She also spends much of her summers leading local youth fitness and sports camps.

She was inspired to become an educator by two teachers from her youth, who taught Armendariz about organization, respect, making learning fun, and the true meaning of sportsmanship – qualities that she hopes to inspire in others with her teaching.

“My personal passion is being a mentor, encouraging and motivating colleagues in the teaching profession,” Armendariz said, adding that her students would describe her as a caring teacher who always encourages them to “be good to everyone.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from UTEP.

Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Amber Rae Bishop (Mission Valley ES), Lauren Catlett (Del Norte Heights ES), Vanessa Gomez (North Star ES), and Michael Hernandez (North Loop ES).

Gonzalez, a family and consumer science teacher at Hanks High School, is a 10-year teaching veteran who also dedicated 11 years of her life working in the high-fashion industry, where she says she never truly felt she had a purpose.

“At that point, my family of educators – specifically my brother – fostered within me a desire to pursue my true calling: Education,” said Gonzalez, who holds a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University.

“I do my best to provide a safe classroom environment that not only allows students to learn, but gives them the structure they might not otherwise have,” Gonzalez added. “I truly believe my students would tell you that I teach them to learn from their mistakes, and I push them to be the best version of themselves.”

Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were Melissa Bradley (Ysleta MS); Carina Lujan (Parkland MS); Veronica Garcia (Del Valle MS), and Michelle Vidalez (Young Women’s Leadership Academy).

Armendariz and Gonzalez will now go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year competition for Region 19.

A list of all 2020-2021 YISD campus Teachers of the Year can be found on the district’s main website at

Hanks High School teacher Yvette Gonzalez (lf) and Constance Hulbert Elementary School teacher Maria Armendariz (rt)
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