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 www.yisd.net