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SAISD teachers awarded state-wide prize
humanities winnersEach year, Humanities Texas recognizes the achievements of 12 exemplary classroom teachers with monetary awards. This year, two San Antonio ISD teachers were recognized for their outstanding work in education. Frances Santos, English master teacher at Travis Early College High School, has been awarded an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award and Adrian Reyna, social studies teacher at Longfellow Middle School, has been awarded both an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award as well as the Julius Glickman Educational Leadership Award.

“Receiving the Julius Glickman Educational Leadership Award proves that what students experience in the classroom will help shape the next generation of leaders,” said Reyna. “With this award, Humanities Texas reaffirmed my belief that public education is the fundamental foundation and last bastion of democracy: the belief that our society relies on an informed and engaged populace and that school is the place where educators, students, leaders, and creators collaborate to advance individual lives and collective society. The Glickman Educational Leadership Award is not about one person leading a group, it’s about helping people realize the power of their voice and collective action.”

The Julius Glickman Educational Leadership Award is given for demonstrating exceptional leadership in the educational field. The award honors Humanities Texas board member Julius Glickman for his extraordinary leadership of the Humanities Texas organization and many other organizations.

Nancy Rodriguez, principal at Longfellow, says that Reyna is the kind of teacher who is always willing to go above and beyond ordinary expectations to do what is right in order to help students, students’ families, teachers, campus, and community.

“Mr. Reyna is a dedicated, student-centered teacher who spends many hours every week working with students in and out of class,” said Rodriguez. “He is trained in the use of AVID strategies, and he is a proponent of the global-minded aims of our International Baccalaureate program. Always looking to improve his instructional practices, he works closely with the District’s instructional specialist and implements new strategies and learning activities on a regular basis.”

The Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Awards recognize exemplary K–12 humanities teachers. According to Humanities Texas executive director Eric Lupfer, more than 700 teachers from across the state were nominated for this year's awards. Each year, winners receive a $5,000 cash award and an additional $1,000 for their respective schools to purchase humanities-based instructional materials. 

Dr. Irene Cruz, associate principal at Travis, nominated Santos for the award.

“Mrs. Santos has a love for literature, language, art, philosophy and politics that transcends the boundaries of her classroom,” she said. “She invokes a deep-rooted curiosity and commitment to create change in students and equips them with the necessary tools, so they may embark on their own personal journeys to impact the world around them. Her students leave her classroom emboldened and ambitious like Isaiah, who is studying English Literature at Columbia University; Mireya, a business major at Carnegie Mellon University; or Nick who is off to study at Johns Hopkins University next fall as a pre-med student.”

Santos has been teaching in SAISD for 26 years and says she is honored, humbled, and has immense gratitude toward the committee members and the incredible mentors who supported her with their letters of recommendation for this award.

“To do work for and with the Humanities Texas means that I am teaching how my own identity as a Texan, a Mexican American, and a Chicana teacher, scholar, and poet is also part of the great and eternal human story,” said Santos. “It is a story of struggle and transcendence, of survival, migration, and becoming. In my content, I do this mostly through poetry. I try to universalize the human experience through the sparseness of language. It is organizations such Humanities Texas that continues to support the ongoing efforts to make sure these stories are always told. I am honored to be a part of the important work of Humanities Texas.”

Nominees for the Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Awards must be full-time teachers in Texas public or private schools. Nominees should be skillful and dedicated teachers who possess an expansive and profound knowledge of the humanities subject they teach as well as have a record of active involvement in community activities and professional organizations, particularly those that promote the humanities.

Humanities Texas, founded in 1973 under the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a nonprofit, educational organization supported by federal and state appropriations, as well as by foundations, corporations, and individuals. The awards recognize exemplary K–12 humanities teachers.

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