Brenda Williams, a fifth-grade science teacher at Argyle Intermediate School, was one of 40 finalists of teachers and principals recognized by grocer H-E-B on Saturday at the 13th annual Excellence in Education Awards ceremony in Houston.
Finalists were recognized on stage and presented with a crystal trophy.
“It was a good evening to be a teacher because they made teachers feel like they were very appreciated,” Williams said. “I was very appreciative of H-E-B recognizing outstanding teachers for their dedication and hard work. It was just a really great event for all teachers involved in it.”
Williams was in the running for H-E-B’s Leadership Award, which went to one elementary and one secondary teacher with 10 to 20 years classroom experience and carried a $10,000 cash prize and a $10,000 grant for the winning educator’s school. Leadership awards went to Nicholas Solis, an elementary teacher with the Del Valle school district and Bart Taylor, a high school teacher from the College Station school district.
In March, while teaching a class on complete and incomplete metamorphosis, Williams was surprised in her classroom by district administrators and H-E-B representatives with news she was a finalist for a H-E-B’s 2014 Excellence in Education Award. As a finalist, she received flowers, balloons, a cake, and $1,000 each for herself and Argyle Intermediate. This is Williams’ first time being selected finalist for a state award.
Eight educators, two school districts, an early childhood agency and one small and one large public school board were announced winners at the event and were awarded $430,000 in cash prizes and grants.
Other categories in addition to the Leadership Award, included Rising Star, which recognizes teachers with fewer than 10 years experience and comes with $5,000 each for the winning educator and their school; Lifetime Achievement, awarded to educators with more than 20 years experience and came with a $25,000 each for the winner and their school; School Principal, which came with a $10,000 cash prize for the honoree and a $25,000 for their school; Early Childhood and School Board, two awards that carried a $25,000 cash prize; and School District, which gave a $50,000 cash prize to its small school district recipient and a $100,000 cash prize to the large school district honoree.