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YWLA teacher selected a 2017 ExCEL Award winner

Christian AguileraChristian Aguilera, an SAISD Distinguished Teacher of the Year, is being recognized throughout Bexar County for excellence as an educator.

The Young Women’s Leadership Academy 7th- and 8th-grade math teacher learned during a surprise visit to her school that she is SAISD’s recipient of a 2017 ExCEL Award, presented by KENS5 and Credit Human, formerly the San Antonio Federal Credit Union.

“She embodies everything that a student needs to be successful,” Principal Delia McLerran said. “She has passion for her students and passion for her content and is an exceptional role model for our young women. She helps them to be successful academically and personally and to be the best that they can be, just like her.”

After being accepted into law school with plans to eventually run for public office as an education and student advocate, Aguilera entered the Teach For America program to gain personal experience.

Her four years of teaching, all at YWLA, convinced Aguilera that she could make a bigger contribution in the classroom.

“I believe my time with my students is more powerful and direct,” she said. “I feel rewarded when students start to believe in themselves and accomplish their goals.”

The Dallas native is a graduate of that city’s YWLA, and like many of her students will be, is a first-generation college graduate.

“Though I come from a different city, I understand many of their familial experiences and have worn the same plaid skirt and cardigan that they wear.’’

To inspire them, Aguilera posts statements including “Learn like a champion today,” and “She believed she could so she did.”

In addition to teaching, she serves on the Campus Leadership Team and as YWLA’s math department chair and administrative intern.

Aguilera also sponsors the class of 2020.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latino studies from the University of Notre Dame, and is pursuing a master’s of arts in urban education leadership from the Columbia University Teachers College.

Last school year, she was one of three SAISD educators selected Distinguished Teachers of the Year from a pool of campus-level Teachers of the Year, representing each District campus.

The ExCEL Award includes a golden apple trophy, $1,000 cash prize and a feature story that aired on KENS5. It can be viewed at: