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SAISD educator recognized as 2020 H-E-B Excellence in Education finalist
HEB Excellence in EducationSan Antonio ISD educator Gerardo Villegas Juarez, a fifth-grade teacher at Charles Graebner Elementary School, was surprised with balloons, cookies, and a giant check when he was named an H-E-B Excellence in Education finalist earlier this week. 

He was recognized in the category of Rising Star, Elementary.

“Mr. Villegas Juarez is a phenomenal teacher,” said Noemi Saldivar, principal at Graebner.  “He is very dedicated and very authentic. He is a product of SAISD himself and is passionate; he truly wants to make a difference in the lives of his students.”

Villegas Juarez attended Nelson and Bowie Elementary schools, Irving Middle School, and then Jefferson High School before graduating from Fox Tech High School in 2012. 

“The nicest thing about winning this award is seeing my former SAISD teachers share the post and congratulate me,” said Villegas Juarez. “It’s nice to know that this award extends to other people who were part of this. I mean, I had the best role models. I always tell people who I get to share my story with that my journey walks on the backs of hundreds of people that I have been blessed to encounter in my life.  Someone like me doesn’t get to be in the place that I am in today by themselves. There were a lot of people in SAISD that helped me.”

Villegas Juarez received $1,000 check for himself and $1,000 check for his school. All state finalists are invited to travel to San Antonio in May for face-to-face interviews to compete on the statewide level for larger cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Winner will be announced at the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony on May 3 at the La Cantera Resort & Spa.

Created in 2002, the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards are designed to honor outstanding public school professionals and to thank them for their dedication and commitment. Through the program, H-E-B seeks to pay tribute to those educators who go the extra mile each and every day to serve their students and their communities and who inspire others to do the same.

H-E-B’s Excellence in Education Awards program has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.

Teacher Awards are designed to recognize teachers and are based on the teachers’ passion and commitment to the teaching profession, innovation and creativity in the classroom and their professional growth and development. 

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