SAISD’s Andrea Greimel named 2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year and Finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year

Andrea Greimel
Pictured are Superintendent Martinez, Carvajal principal Sonya Cardenas, teacher Andrea Greimel, and Dr. Jeff Goldhorn of Region 20.

Andrea Greimel, a bilingual pre-kindergarten teacher at Carvajal Early Childhood Education Center, received two surprise announcements Aug. 16. In front of her students, Greimel was named the 2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year by Education Service Center, Region 20 and also a Finalist for 2019 Texas Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).

As Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the year, Greimel was among 40 outstanding Texas educators eligible for consideration for Texas Teacher of the Year.

"We are privileged to have the opportunity to serve teachers like Ms. Greimel at ESC-20," said Dr. Jeff Goldhorn, executive director of the regional education service agency. “We share her excitement on such a great accomplishment and thank her for the work she does for the educational community of SAISD. We look forward to hearing more about her impact as an educator in our region.”

A panel of judges composed of representatives of Texas teacher associations and the 2018 Texas Teacher of the Year finalists chose her and five other Regional Teachers of the Year – three elementary and three secondary – as finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year.

Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor the State of Texas can bestow upon a teacher.

Earlier this year, Greimel was named one of the District’s three 2018 Distinguished Teachers of the Year. In her application, Greimel wrote about empowering her students by knowing and respecting their culture.

“I feel that one of my greatest accomplishments as an educator is my advocacy for second language learners,” Greimel wrote. “I use two languages in instruction and I include constant references to the culture of my students as it relates to concepts and to the literature we are reading.”

Greimel, who has 30 years of experience in the classroom, taught in Mexico early in her career. She has spent the last 15 years in SAISD, with nine of those years in her current role at Carvajal.

“For the young child, the most pertinent community is family,” Greimel said. “Our challenge is to engage not just the child, but the whole family, in the child’s development. I do this by building an inclusive community of support where teachers and families learn together. I tell my students’ parents they hold a big key to their child’s academic success. Love is the greatest motivator. If a parent reads to a child, a love of reading follows. If a parent writes, illustrates and reads family stories, the child will be empowered by love to make a mark on the world by reading and writing.”

In September, Greimel and the other finalists will be invited to Austin for interviews before a panel of judges composed of representatives of educational leadership associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year.

The panel will select two state-level winners – Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year – and designate one to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony Sept. 14 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

TASA has coordinated the Texas Teacher of the Year program since 2011. Since 1969, the program has honored excellence in classroom education and provided a forum to showcase many outstanding educators whose efforts and example have inspired their students, colleagues and the communities they serve.

Greimel holds a master’s degree in bilingual-bicultural education from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts/French from the University of Minnesota.