The Houston Independent School District honored the two 2013 Teachers of the Year during the Team HISD Celebration of Excellence ceremony tonight at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Neff Elementary School teacher Paige Fernandez and Bellaire High School teacher Kay Kubena were selected among 12,000 HISD teachers.
Fernandez, who graduated from Florida State University with a degree in psychology, is a product of HISD’s own alternative teacher certification program. She has been teaching at Neff for two years, but has also served the district at Fonville and Henry middle and Tijerina elementary schools. She describes her teaching philosophy as a belief that all students can learn, regardless of their origins. Fernandez said she derives the most satisfaction from helping insecure, risk-averse students develop confidence and perseverance through character education and content mastery.
“This is such an honor, especially in a district as large and diverse as HISD,” said Fernandez. “I cannot think of any other honor I can ever get that will mean as much as this one means to me.”
Kubena has been teaching math for almost 30 years, and currently instructs students in Advanced Placement (AP) statistics, Pre-AP pre-calculus, and algebra I. She has been at Bellaire since 2008 and strives to challenge her students to think outside the box every day. Kubena describes her teaching style as “very hands-on,” with lots of activities to give pupils a chance to learn while doing.
“I feel great all over!” said Kubena. “I am very proud to be part of HISD and give special thanks to my support team at Bellaire High School.”
The winners received $5,000, a plaque, and a custom made ring.
HISD Board of Education President Anna Eastman and Superintendent Terry Grier recognized the honorees at tonight’s ceremony.
“These are individuals that truly care for our students and go above and beyond to ensure that all students receive a high quality education,” Eastman said. “We are very proud of the work all of our teachers, administrators and staff do here are HISD.”
“HISD is a great school district because it is led by great administrators, and we have the best teachers educating our students,” Grier said. “These teachers believe in access to excellence for all of our students.”
Each nominee submitted essays highlighting their professional history, philosophy of teaching, trends in education, personal teaching style, community involvement, and professional development. Various committees reviewed the entries and selected the finalists for elementary and secondary teachers of the year.
HISD also recognized the principals, assistant principals, first-year principal and first-year teachers of the year and employees of the month.
For pictures of the winners, visit www.houstonisd.org.