HISD announces 2020-21 Teacher of the Year finalists, Beginning Teacher of the Year winners

Twelve educators have been named as HISD’s 2020-2021 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year finalists, and two teachers have been named the Beginning Teachers of the Year.

The two Teacher of the Year winners will go on to represent the district in Region IV. The 12 finalists were selected from all 280 schools based on performance data and other criteria.

At the elementary level, the six Teacher of the Year finalists are:

  • Neftaly Gonzalez from Oates Elementary School
  • Anabel Lopez from Ketelsen Elementary School
  • Lisa M. Rice from C. Martinez Elementary School
  • Rosa Oviedo from Neff Early Learning Center
  • Briana Poindexter from Grissom Elementary School
  • Barbara Smith from Sinclair Elementary School

At the secondary level, the six Teacher of the Year finalists are:

  • Aric Barnes from Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center High School
  • Kimberly Brooks from Westbury High School
  • Rose Durant from Kashmere High School
  • Sharon PeBenito from Edison Middle School
  • Chelsea Reynolds from Pin Oak Middle School
  • Yabei Yin from Mandarin Immersion Magnet School

Along with the finalists for Teacher of the Year, the winners of the Beginning Teachers of the Year also have been announced.

The Beginning Teachers of the Year are:

  • Sarah Arvidsson from Seguin Elementary School
  • Patricia Biles from Revere Middle School
  • Christen Smajstria from Heights High School

In February, HISD announced the 2020-2021 Elementary and Secondary Principals of the Year, Lola Perejón from Helms Dual Language Elementary School and Gretchen Kasper-Hoffman from Tanglewood Middle School. Both will go on to represent the district as Region IV finalists.

Teacher of the Year finalists will be recognized, along with Beginning Teachers of the Year, Librarian of the Year, Instructional Coaches of the Year and several other employee recognitions, at the annual Educators of the Year event on Tuesday, June 15.