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Trobaugh wins EXCEL Award for SAISD
2019 EXCEL honoreeIliana Trobaugh, an SAISD Distinguished Teacher of the Year, was recognized on Oct. 1 as one of Bexar County’s best educators. The sixth-grade science teacher at Ogden Academy learned during a surprise visit to her school that she was named the 2019 EXCEL award honoree for SAISD, presented by KENS5 and Credit Human. 

“This was a big surprise,” said Trobaugh after she accepted the award in front of a cafeteria filled with cheering students she has personally taught. “I come to school every day thinking that I am going to make a big difference, and this is helping me realize that I really am making a difference. It feels so good to win this award.”

Growing up, Trobaugh had a passion for science and math but faced obstacles as a female Latina. Now, she strives to grow a love of science in her students to usher in the next generation of scientists, mathematicians or engineers.

“My students don’t have a lot of background in science, but by the time they leave me, I want them prepared for college. Not high school, but college,” she said. 

Her science class follows rigorous college and career readiness standards to prepare them as 21st-century learners. Their units of study cover relevant issues and allow them to solve real-world problems, which also serves to reaffirm the belief that they are scientists in action, not only in name. 

“My scholars become doctors studying a treatment for diabetes, microbiologists debating the use of antibacterial soaps, and climatologists examining the effects of El Niño,” she said.

Trobaugh grew up not far from the school and has lived in the area her entire life. She says she sees herself in her students. 

“We have had a lot of the same experiences, and I want them to know that anything is possible, especially with science,” she said.  

During her time at SAISD, Trobaugh has contributed to the success of her scholars as well as helped create a STEM robotics team and organized a pre-K through fifth-grade science fair with the help of student volunteers. 

As a Master Teacher at Ogden, Trobaugh not only performs as a teacher for students but also as a teacher leader for other teachers. And she also strives to instill the quality of leadership in her students. 

“I decided to organize a community service club based on modeling the qualities of leadership while performing helpful actions within the community,” she said. “The response was tremendous.” 

The students’ first campaign of action was a campus-wide food drive that resulted in restocking the neighborhood pantry for more than 1,000 families. Other campaigns included an anti-littering program and a positive culture movement, in which reaffirming messages are posted around campus.

“We are so excited for Ms. Trobaugh to be the winner of the award this year,” said Rachelle Davis, Ogden associate principal for sixth through eighth grades. “She is an amazing teacher. This couldn’t go to a more deserving person. Ms. Trobaugh works day in and day out to make sure our students have the education they deserve, both in and outside of the classroom.”

In early 2019, Trobaugh 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 silver apple trophy, $1,000 cash prize and a feature story aired on KENS5 .

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