HISD recognizes November Associate Teachers of the Month

The Human Resources Prize Patrol had a busy Friday morning, surprising the Associate and Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month winners for November with gift baskets and festive balloons.

Associate Teacher Maria Gonzalez-Hatton at Burnet Elementary School was named the Associate Teacher of the Month for going above and beyond her duties as an intervention teacher.

Burnet Principal Ana Cantu said Gonzalez-Hatton takes the time to truly know her students and is dedicated to them.

“Last year, she bought little gifts for the students she was tutoring and gave them encouraging notes,” Cantu said. “She does more than what is asked of her. She is flexible, caring, devoted, determined and a true blessing to our campus.”

Gonzalez-Hatton, a retired teacher, said the pandemic and its challenges have only motivated her more.

“People are really hurting right now,” Gonzalez-Hatton said. “So, if I can help out a little bit somewhere, then that’s what I want to do. Being a teacher is part of who I am. And I’ve been teaching for so long, but I’ve never found a home like this. They’re very welcoming and appreciative.”

The Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month is Derick Idlebird, who facilitates classes in the Patrick Henry Middle School library and helps students in three different virtual classes get online and ready to learn.

Henry Principal Jason Davila said Idlebird has excellent work ethic, arriving early and never missing a day.

“If a teacher is out or quarantined, Mr. Idlebird steps in,” Davila said. “He’s able to take over the class, whether it’s virtual or face-to-face. He’s the perfect person to continue that good work and make sure the students have a great day. We wish we could find more substitute teachers like him.”

Idlebird’s humble character shone through when he was presented with the award.

“I have a great team with me this year, a great principal and staff that have supported me,” Idlebird said. “So, this award is for all of us. It’s about the kids. They need somebody there for them. If you’ve got that right mindset, this is not that hard.”

The two recognition programs are sponsored by Raising Cane’s. Each selected teacher receives a gift basket filled with merchant gift cards and promotional items.

To nominate an Associate or Achieve 180 Dedicated Associated Teacher of the Month, click here.