Longtime Washington HS educator wins HEB Excellence in Education award

Booker T. Washington Engineering teacher Nghia Le accepts the
Secondary Education Leadership prize at HEB’s Excellence in Education Awards on Saturday, May 4.

An engineering teacher at HISD’s Booker T. Washington High School and the High School for Engineering Professions is one of the eight educators statewide receiving this year’s HEB Excellence in Education Awards. 

Nghia Le was awarded HEB’s Secondary Education Leadership prize, which honors teachers with 10 to 20 years of classroom experience. The award comes with a $10,000 grant for his school and a $10,000 check for his personal use.  

“Dr. Le is certainly one of our shining stars in the classroom,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “He leads an out-of-this-world program and deserves this prestigious honor and the prize that accompanies it.” 

Le founded the rocketry program at Washington 14 years ago. His students have launched rockets at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, collaborated with NASA, constructed a Mars rover and partnered with a college in Zimbabwe to create a real-world wind turbine and water filtration system. 

“The students I teach are the embodiment of my highest dream,” Le said. “I am grateful for this award. It will be useful for a high-altitude rocketry project with NASA, as well as other projects we are working on.”  

For 18 years, HEB has recognized the state’s outstanding teachers with its Excellence in Education Awards program. This year’s ceremony took place on May 5 in Austin.