• November 30, 2021
 UTEP honors Teachers, Mentors with Annual Awards

Photos courtesy UTEP

UTEP honors Teachers, Mentors with Annual Awards

The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Education recently announced the recipients of its annual honors that recognize alumni who are among the region’s top novice and mentor public school teachers.

College leaders planned to congratulate the winners during Zoom calls in late September that included honorees as well as campus and district administrators.

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize these amazing educators during such an important and critical time for education in our region,” said Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of the college. “At the UTEP College of Education, we are laser-focused on producing the best teachers possible, and to doing everything we can to support regional educators, so that they in turn can provide incredible educational experiences and outcomes for children throughout El Paso.”

Adrian Flores, a physical education teacher at Aoy Elementary School, and Brenda Aguirre, a dual-language kindergarten teacher at Myrtle Cooper Elementary School, each earned the John and Gloria Lavis Excellence Award for their superiority as teachers and their dedication as mentors to UTEP teacher candidates.

This award, which includes $2,500, recognizes the quality of mentor relationships and their effect on professional development and career advancement. Aoy is part of the El Paso Independent School District and Myrtle Cooper belongs to the Socorro Independent School District (SISD).

The college conferred its Evelyn Schwartz Endowed Award to Cynthia Rangel, a fifth-grade science teacher at John Drugan (Pre-K-8) School, and Miguel A. Saldana, a physical education teacher at Col. John O. Ensor Middle School. Both of these teachers, who represent SISD, have taught for five years or less.

The accolade, which comes with $1,000, acknowledges the impressive achievements and innovative work that novice teachers do with students and teaching practices such as standards-based instruction, integration of technology, interdisciplinary curricula and work with parents and their campus communities. The college hopes that this honor inspires other new teachers to develop their skills and advocate for their profession.

A committee made up of the college’s staff and administrators reviewed the nominations and selected the winners, said Lucy Zarate, the college’s director of outreach and strategic initiatives.

“The community’s support for our teachers is evident in the number of nominations we received and the appreciation they expressed for our local educators,” Zarate said. “It always is wonderful to read how our faculty members have touched the lives of our students and through their work, inspire others to pursue careers in education.”

Zarate said that the college was grateful for the generosity of the Lavis and Schwartz families, who made these awards possible.

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