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2023 Del Valle District Teachers of the Year announced at banquet Thursday night

2023 Del Valle District Teachers of the Year announced at banquet Thursday night
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

Del Valle ISD announced the 2022-23 district Teachers of the Year on Thursday night at a banquet hosted by the DVISD Education Foundation.

After a Teacher of the Year was selected at each campus, two out of the 16 winners were chosen as the district’s overall winners. One was selected at the elementary level, and one from the secondary schools.

DVISD’s Teachers of the Year are Maria Benitez-Suarez, a special education teacher at Joseph Gilbert Elementary, and Alyssa Baker, a science teacher at John P. Ojeda Middle School.

Maria is the Resource and Inclusion Dual Language Special Education teacher at Gilbert Elementary, teaching Reading Language Arts for kindergarten through fifth grade. She graduated from Texas State University and has a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies specializing in Special Education. 

This past August, she obtained her Master's in Behavior Disorders and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. She is certified to use the Reading by Design Dyslexia Program, Esperanza Dyslexia Program in Spanish, and the Leveled Literacy Intervention System. 

Maria is currently part of the UT Literacy First Pilot program, learning best practices with students who need phonics. Her principal Ms. Nicole Brown notes that she is a positive influence on campus, working hard to troubleshoot and problem-solve for her team and all those she works with.

Alyssa is a seventh grade science at Ojeda Middle School. She acquired her degree from Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies of Biology and Psychology. She is commonly known as Little Miss Sunshine on her campus for her joyous nature, and sense of humor.

Her dream was always to be a teacher, so she could travel and volunteer in other countries during the summer. However, she started her career in the medical field. After one clinical round for pre-nursing classes, Baker decided maybe she was better suited for Healthcare Management and Administration, where she found long hours and holidays away from family. Tutoring became a side job for the recent college grad until she decided that helping students understand science was way more fulfilling than calculating surgery estimates. 

Ojeda Principal Ryan Hayes says she is a leader with students, staff, and parents while advocating for all stakeholders and the field of education. Baker will fulfill her dream of volunteering in other countries this summer as she trains teachers at Kafue Christian Academy in Zambia, Africa.

The district winners can submit their application to the regional competition and, if successful, move on to the State and National Competitions. In addition, the two district teachers of the year received a commemorative plaque from the district, $500 from the Education Foundation, a gift from Kendra Scott, and two roundtrip airline tickets to anywhere in the U.S. from Southwest Airlines.

The 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year for each campus includes: 

  • Michael Marple - Baty Elementary 

  • Carmen Rivera - Creedmoor Elementary 

  • Maria Jarmon Booker - DAEP

  • Rebecca Lange - Dailey Middle School 

  • Ana Reynero - Del Valle CDC 

  • Bedelia Salinas - Del Valle Elementary 

  • Ashley Jenkins - Del Valle High School 

  • Lauren Roan Zarrella - Del Valle Middle School

  • Liliana Zavala - Hillcrest Elementary 

  • Wendy Gallardo - Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary 

  • Alyssa Baker - John P. Ojeda Middle School 

  • Maria Benitez Suarez - Joseph Gilbert Elementary 

  • Angelique Dean - Newton Collins Elementary 

  • Carla Shepherd - Opportunity Center 

  • Greecia Jaimes - Popham Elementary

  • Laura Dimmitt - Smith Elementary

2023 campus Teachers of the Year
2023 TOYs Alyssa Baker & Maria Benitez-Suarez
2023 Teacher of the Year Alyssa Baker with admin and Ojeda Principal
Superintendent Dr. Tielle hugs 2023 TOY winner Alyssa Baker
2023 TOY Maria Benitez-Suarez hugs loved one after winning award
TOY Maria Benitez-Suarez hugs another loved one after winning award
Gilbert Teacher of the Year with administration and principal
Dr. Annette Tielle speaks at 2023 Teacher of the Year banquet
2023 Collins TOY Angelique Dean
2023 campus Creedmoor TOY Carmen Rivera
2023 DVE TOY Bedelia Salinas
2023 Campus Hillcrest TOY Liliana Zavala
2023 campus Hornsby TOY Wendy Gallardo
Teacher of the Year Maria Benitez-Suarez
2023 Smith TOY Laura Dimmitt
2023 Popham TOY Greecia Jaimes
2023 CDC TOY Anna Reynero
2023 Dailey TOY Rebecca Lange
2023 DVMS TOY Lauren Roan Zarrella
Teacher of the Year Alyssa Baker
2023 DVHS TOY Ashley Jenkins
2023 DAEP TOY Maria Jarmon Booker
2023 DVOC TOY Carla Shepherd
2023 Baty TOY Michael Marple
2023 TOYS with campus principals
2023 TOYs with Education Foundation and Superintendent Dr. Tielle
2023 TOYs with DVISD school board