Fourth-grade math and science teacher Christine Velasquez didn’t stop her lesson on double-digit multiplication when Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan made a classroom visit to surprise her as the Sterling McCall VIP Services Teacher of the Month for November.
“Mrs. Velasquez has been crucial in the turnaround at Lewis,” Principal Jorge Rodriguez said. “Her work ethic can be described as an undeniable dedication in providing the best educational experiences and opportunities for all students at the campus.”
What was thought to be a classroom observation on Tuesday quickly evolved into a celebration as district and campus administrators, followed by the campus’ very own mariachi band filled the space to honor the lead teacher with the district’s monthly award.
Now in her fourth school year at Lewis, she is known around campus for providing face-to-face instructional coaching, model lessons, and effective planning feedback for teachers across different grade levels.
“As an effective practice specialist for Lewis, she supports all teachers in the implementation of best instructional practices in the classroom,” Rodriguez said. “She is committed to the success of Lewis and goes beyond her work in the classroom each and every day.”
Velasquez joined the campus through Teach for America in 2016, in which she was immediately recognized for her gift in teaching and awarded HISD’s Beginning Teacher of the Year.
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, Velasquez will have more than just a side dish when she arrives to the holiday festivities in a fully loaded 2020 Acura RDX, courtesy of Sterling McCall Acura.
“Each month, I reach another level of excitement to recognize some of the district’s most hardworking and dedicated exemplary teachers from across the district,” Lathan said. “We want to be sure we’re recognizing teachers like Ms. Velasquez who continue to demonstrate next-level dedication that makes a difference in the lives of their students, as well as for individuals inside and outside of the classroom.”
As part of the Teacher of the Month program, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, along with a rep from Sterling McCall VIP Services and district leaders, surprise the teacher recipient. The educator is presented with an award, a gift basket of promotional items, a $150 gift card, and a luxury loaner vehicle.
Each of the seven HISD Area Superintendents are responsible for selecting a teacher from their region to be honored from October 2019 to May 2020. Principals who would like to nominate a teacher on their campus should contact their school support officer or area superintendent directly.