Two teachers at Treasure Hills Elementary School and Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy were taken by surprise as administrators and students celebrated one of the highest honors for an educator at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District.
On May 2, Julie Garcia third-grade teacher at Treasure Hills and English teacher Elifonso Esquivel were named Elementary and Secondary HCISD Teachers of the Year respectively. With their awards, they will also be the district’s two selections for the Region One Teacher of the Year competition.
“What better way to kick off our celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week than to recognize our HCISD teacher of the year,” says Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “What our teachers do every day is a calling. These two outstanding educators truly exemplify what we want to see in our teachers. We are indebted to them and thank them for their efforts as they represent our district as the elementary and secondary Teachers of the Year at the regional level.”
As a bonus, the schools where both teachers work received a $500 Teacher of the Year Grant in their honor from the Harlingen Area Educational Foundation (HAEF). The grant is presented to support excellence in education.
“It’s a huge honor to be a part of and represent the HCISD in this way. I work with the best at Treasure Hills,” says Garcia. “I’m just so happy to be able to shine a light on all of the best practices that are taking place in our district.”
“I’m very glad to have received this award,” says Esquivel. “I would not have been able to do it, without the example that is exemplified by HCISD, Dr. Cano Freshman Academy, administrative staff, teachers, and students.”
Garcia, a digital classroom teacher, strives to provide meaningful learning experiences for her students by integrating technology into her lessons and pushing her students beyond the recall of facts.
“I think Mrs. Garcia is a great teacher,” says student Dylan Manning. “She has a way of making subjects that many not be very interesting turn out to be very fun for us.”
Leading the way for teachers and department chairs alike, Esquivel has played a vital role in implementing innovative teaching strategies and methods at his campus.
“Mr. Esquivel has been an excellent mentor,” says English teacher Kristal Gracia. “I’ve learned so much from him. He’s the type of teacher I aspire to be.”
Garcia and Esquivel will compete with teachers from across Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties for the Region One Teacher of the Year award. The regional winners then go on to compete at the state level for the Texas Teacher of the Year award.