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A shout out to three of our most outstanding educators

2013 May 9
by HISD Communications

This week, three of our employees were recognized by H-E-B as some of the top educators in Texas at the annual Excellence in Education awards ceremony. But what you may not know is the back story behind why they were chosen.

Since it’s still Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s start with Dr. Mary “Linda” Velasquez, a bilingual teacher at Burbank Middle School who earned a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Velasquez has been a passionate advocate for bilingual education for more than 30 years, and her efforts to provide a rigorous bilingual program at Burbank have resulted in eighth-graders taking—and passing—Advanced Placement exams in Spanish for college credit. That is phenomenal!

Mike Walker, the principal at Fondren Elementary School, is creating a culture of success at his campus by empowering students to take more ownership of their performance. He’s also inspiring teachers to step up their efforts in the classroom with his “Move Up Board,” which visually tracks students’ progress from week to week.

Finally, Dr. R. Scott Allen from the High School for the Performing Arts was recognized for honoring the legacy of excellence left by his predecessor. Dr. Allen became the principal of that campus during the 2009–2010 school year, and he continues to trumpet the importance of combining arts instruction with academics. The predictable result has been a steady stream of accolades for his campus, including recognition from Children at Risk, the Washington Post, and now, Newsweek

Please join me in congratulating these extraordinary educators for their outstanding efforts on behalf of Houston’s children.

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