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DVISD educators surprised to find out about selection for Teacher of the Year

DVISD educators surprised to find out about selection for Teacher of the Year
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

Educators across the district were surprised recently as Del Valle ISD leaders and DVISD Education Foundation members dropped by their classrooms to announce their selection as the Teacher of the Year for their respective schools.

With an intro of cheers and applause heard from down the school hallways, educators across different subjects and grades were astonished upon receiving the news.

Carmen Rivera, a first grade bilingual teacher at Creedmoor Elementary, was one of the educators surprised on Friday. The Creedmoor Teacher of the Year said the recognition for all her effort feels great.

“I feel great because everybody is seeing what we're doing here and the effort that we put into doing this,” Carmen said. 

Every winner also received a Teacher of the Year yard sign and a $300 check from the foundation to spend as they please. A message of gratitude and appreciation poured from winners, with some shedding tears. 

“I'm a little bit overwhelmed. I'm glad that people have noticed my hard work - that always feels good,” said Del Valle High School Teacher of the Year Ashely Jenkins.

Ashley is a hospitality and culinary instructor for the high school’s Career and Technical Education hospitality program. District leadership and foundation members surprised her while she helped at the Cardinal Cafe, the student-run restaurant providing real-world experience.

Ashley said her motivation is the students and the mission she set out on to help them succeed.

“The reason why I do what I do is because a lot of these kids, I grew up just like them,” she said. “But I grew up in a small town, so they have the advantage of being in the city that offers so much. And so after I moved here, one of the things that I noticed was that half of them lived in Austin their whole life and never knew what It offered. So, I made it my mission to give them as many opportunities as possible.”

Both Carmen and Ashely shined their spotlight on the educators around them, saying many others also put in the same effort they do. 

“I'm not the only one who puts so much effort in planning and teaching, a lot of teachers here do the same things,” Carmen said. 

“I'm humbled because there are so many teachers that I work with who also deserve it,” Ashley said. 

The DVISD Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to enhance education opportunities within the district while supporting and recognizing staff for their efforts in the classroom. The foundation will host its inaugural golf tournament on April 20. Additionally, it is accepting student scholarship applications through March 24 for 2023 DVISD graduates seeking to attend a university, trade school, or technical school after graduation. 

The 2022-2023 Teacher of Year for each campus include: 

  • Angelique Dean - Newton Collins Elementary 

  • Greecia Jaimes - Popham Elementary

  • Ana Reynero - Del Valle CDC 

  • Laura Dimmitt - Smith Elementary 

  • Carla Shepherd - Opportunity Center 

  • Maria Benitez Suarez - Gilbert Elementary 

  • Michael Marple - Baty Elementary 

  • Bedelia Salinas - Del Valle Elementary 

  • Liliana Zavala - Hillcrest Elementary 

  • Wendy Gallardo - Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary 

  • Lauren Roan Zarrella - Del Valle Middle School

  • Rebecca Lange - Dailey Middle School 

  • Carmen Rivera - Creedmoor Elementary 

  • Ashley Jenkins - Del Valle High School 

  • Alyssa Baker - Ojeda Middle School 

  • Maria Jarmon Booker - DAEP