Michelle Sandoval, an eighth-grade math teacher at Parkland Middle School in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), is among the top six finalists – three for the elementary level and three for the secondary level – for 2019-2020 Texas Teacher of the Year, state officials confirmed Tuesday.
“I feel so humbled and blessed and empowered to represent The District and the entire region because all of the other teachers I’ve met during this process have been amazing,” said Sandoval, adding that she believes transparency is “everything” when it comes to success in the classroom.
“When you are a real human in front of your students, you earn respect,” she said.
Sandoval, who began her 12th year in education when the YISD school year began Monday, won 2019-2020 Secondary Teacher of the Year honors at the campus, district, and regional levels before being named a state finalist Tuesday by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).
“Every day in public schools across Texas, teachers perform miracles as they inspire children for lifelong learning,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of TASA, which has coordinated the Texas Teacher of the Year program since 2011.
“These six finalists are among the best in a profession that is perhaps the most important in our nation, both for individual children and for society,” Brown said. “They are national heroes and deserve this tremendous honor. They have distinguished themselves among thousands of outstanding, dedicated teachers across our state and nation have who have answered the call to serve others.”
Earlier this month, a panel of judges with representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year’s finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year selected this year’s six finalists from among 40 regional winners.
Sandoval is vying for the 2019-2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year award against two others: Kami Dodds of Brady ISD and Jennifer Garner of River Road ISD.
The six finalists will be interviewed in Austin in October before two state-level winners — Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year — are announced at an October 25 awards ceremony.
At this ceremony, only one winner will be designated to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Over the years, five Ysleta ISD teachers have gone on to win Texas Teacher of the Year – more than any other district in the state.
The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in classroom education since 1969. The program annually recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.