After nearly 30 years of teaching—in two different countries—it takes a lot to startle Irene Mirasol, an 8th grade teacher at Gregory Lincoln Education Center.
But as she walked into the school’s gym on a Tuesday morning, the English/Language Arts teacher was not expecting to be recognized as the HISD Teacher of the Month.
“I’m so surprised,” Mirasol said. “Gregory Lincoln is my second home. This honor, this recognition is definitely for my students, the staff, and the leadership team here. I’m even more motivated now to do more for my students, and for the community of Gregory Lincoln.”
Mirasol has taught at Gregory Lincoln for the past 20 years and is the longest-serving educator on campus. She was a teacher in the Philippines for 10 years before joining HISD. She also serves as the 8th grade team lead on campus, as well as the middle school literacy department chair.
Achieve 180 schools Area Superintendent Nicole Moore called Mirasol a “role model” for other teachers and students—and even leaders.
“She’s truly dedicated, not only to Gregory Lincoln but to the local community and the students of HISD,” Moore said. “It makes me very proud.”
Later that morning at Seguin Elementary School, Mimi Munoz got a surprise of her own.
Though the 5th grade teacher has been teaching science at the school for only two years, Principal Mayte Garcia-Olivo said she’s a “natural born” leader and educator.
“She’s just always prepared, always ready, and always making sure that learning comes first,” Garcia-Olivo said. “She’s had that talent from the get-go. It’s been a wonderful experience to see her blossom, to take that natural born talent and have it developed even further.”
Both teachers selected this month work at Achieve 180 schools, a program launched a few years ago to support, strengthen, and empower underserved and underperforming communities. It impacts more than 2,000 teachers and over 30,000 students and families across the district.
As the Area Superintendent of the Achieve 180 schools, Moore believes Munoz is a wonderful example of the passion it takes to teach in these underserved communities.
“She’s come in, as we say in science, with a bang! She goes over and beyond what is required of her when it comes to helping her students,” Moore said.
As for Munoz, the second-year teacher appreciates that her leaders recognize her hard work and dedication, and she remains committed to continuing her growth as an educator.
“Education is everything. I’ve always believed that,” Munoz said. “Even as a teacher, I’m always a student first, I’m always learning. I’m always here to grow.”
As part of the Teacher of the Month program, district leaders surprise a deserving teacher. Each month, the selected teacher receives a gift basket and a luxury loaner vehicle from Sterling McCall. Principals who would like to nominate a teacher on their campus should contact their school support officer or area superintendent directly.