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San Angelo ISD announces Teachers of the Year

The district names its elementary and secondary teachers of the year April 28.
Credit: SAISD

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The San Angelo Independent School District announced Lena Rivera as this year's district Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Sylvia Graves as this year’s district Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Rivera teaches second grade at Fort Concho Elementary School. Graves teaches the 18+ vocational program for the SAISD.

A press release from the district said 24 SAISD teachers were nominated by their campus and recognized April 28 at the 2021 district celebration for their outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching the children of San Angelo.

Prior to the district celebration, a panel of judges reviewed applicants nominated from each campus and chose Rivera and Graves. The district Teachers of the Year were kept a secret until announced at the district celebration.

"Rivera and Graves exemplify the characteristics within our SAISD Educator Profile through their commitment to providing their students with an inspiring educational experience which prepares their students to be future-ready, whatever that future may be," the release said.

Rivera’s colleagues had the following to say about her in her Teacher of the Year nomination application: “Mrs. Rivera engages her students in learning through a multitude of innovative activities. She encourages her students to explore learning through many different facets, such as song, dance and multi-cultural studies. Mrs. Rivera sets expectations for her students in all areas, academic and otherwise. Mrs. Rivera gives each of her students personal attention. She is an advocate for their needs academically, physically, and emotionally.”

The Teacher of the Year nomination committee, comprised of Graves’ colleagues, had the following to say about her: “Sylvia has made acceptance the expectation, by training adult students with disabilities to succeed in what can sometimes be a harsh world, emphasizing strengths over difficulties. Sylvia focuses on four major principles of independence: career exploration, work based learning, job readiness, and self advocacy. Sylvia has worked endlessly to provide instruction and support for students with disabilities to gain the necessary skills and experiences to successfully transition into competitive integrated employment in a variety of fields.”

Both Rivera and Graves will now compete for the Region 15 Teacher of the Year. The winner of the Region 15 Teacher of the Year will then be nominated for the Texas Teacher of the Year award.

SAISD Campus Teachers of the Year include:

  • Jillian Houchins, Alta Loma Elementary
  • Kim Smith, Austin Elementary
  • Lourdes Pasillas Cuevas, Belaire Elementary
  • Whitney Crim, Bonham Elementary
  • Kristi Forsberg, Bowie Elementary
  • Jessica Kretschmer, Bradford Elementary
  • Emily McMorrow, Carver Learning Center
  • Terrell Parkes, Central High School
  • Kristin Bailey, Crockett Elementary
  • Adriana Mathews, Fannin Elementary
  • Lena Rivera, Fort Concho Elementary
  • Shari Garcia, Glenmore Elementary
  • Adam Chappell, Glenn Middle School
  • Theresa Maskill, Goliad Elementary
  • Halie Curtis, Holiman Elementary
  • Amanda Arnold, Lake View High School
  • Karen Rastetter, Lamar Elementary
  • Sylvia Becerra, Lee Middle School
  • Sindi Grimes, Lincoln Middle School 
  • Chloe Brassie, McGill Elementary
  • Ruth Sanchez, Reagan Elementary
  • Sylvia Graves, Sam Houston/Special Programs
  • Valerie Jones, San Jacinto Elementary
  • Margaret Zwiebel, Santa Rita Elementary