Houston Educators Named Finalists for 2018 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards

Educators to Compete on a Statewide Level for $430,000 in cash prizes

Style Magazine Newswire | 2/23/2018, 4:47 p.m.
Eight Houston educators have been named finalists for the 2018 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, spotlighting them as some of ...
Houston ISD's Kellie Karavias celebrates her H-E-B Excellence in Education nomination

Eight Houston educators have been named finalists for the 2018 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, spotlighting them as some of the best educators in Texas.

Amber Neal being surprised by H-E-B

Amber Neal being surprised by H-E-B

H-E-B’s Excellence in Education is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas, and among the largest in the nation. The honor was kept a surprise from the educators, who learned they were finalists when H-E-B representatives visited their classrooms and schools with balloons, cookies, and flowers.

Six teachers were presented with a $1,000 check for themselves and a $1,000 check for their schools. Two principals received a $1,000 check for themselves and a $2,500 check for their school. The finalists are:

· Bonnie McSpadden, Wood Creek Elementary, Katy ISD (Leadership Elementary)

· Kellie Karavias, Gregory-Lincoln Elementary, Houston ISD (Leadership Secondary)

· Amber Neal, Almeda Elementary, Houston ISD (Rising Star Elementary)

· Jennifer Chase, The High School for Performing & Visual Arts, Houston ISD (Rising Star Secondary)

· Vanessa Reyes, V.W. Miller Intermediate, Pasadena ISD (Principal Secondary)

· Terri Armendariz, Carpenter Elementary, Deer Park ISD (Lifetime Achievement Elementary)

· Diego Calderon, Luther Burbank Elementary, Houston ISD (Principal Elementary)

· Pamela Broussard, Cypress Falls High School, Cypress Fairbanks ISD (Lifetime Achievement Secondary)

All finalists are invited to Houston on May 5-6 to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling $430,000.

Houston ISD's Diego Caldero

Houston ISD's Diego Caldero

Want to Tweet about the finalist announcements? Please tag @HEB and use the hashtag #HEBEducation. Find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/HEBExcellenceinEducationAwards.

About the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards

H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas. It has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.

H-E-B asks customers, Partners (employees) and community members to nominate teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards in Texas. Each nominee is sent an invitation to complete an application online and is asked about their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom.

A team of judges reviews the applications, narrowing the field to semi-finalists. From that pool, five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators, and university and community leaders not affiliated with H-E-B select 40 teacher and principal finalists. Finalists and their schools receive a cash prize of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category.

Three separate panels select eight school districts and five early childhood facilities as finalists, awarding $2,500 to $5,000 in cash prizes. Up to five school boards may also be recognized, and awarded $5,000 towards the district they serve. Additionally, one or more school boards may receive a special judge’s award totaling up to $25,000. Site visits are conducted to determine winners.

Teacher and principal finalists are invited to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling more than $400,000. A statewide panel of judges, not affiliated with H-E-B, conducts a personal interview with each finalist to select winners.