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Ceremony named 12 winners statewide 
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H-E-B names winners in 2016 Excellence in Education Awards 
Company Recognized Outstanding Educators and School Districts

with Cash Prizes and Grants Totaling $430,000 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                     MEDIA CONTACT:
May 13, 2016                                                              Melissa Ludwig, The DeBerry Group, 210-380-0733
 
 *High-res photos and video b-roll available for download. Links located at the bottom of this release.*
                                           
(SAN ANTONIO) — On Friday, May 13, H-E-B announced statewide winners of the 15th annual H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards during an awards ceremony at San Antonio’s La Cantera Hill Country Resort. At the ceremony, H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt personally handed out $430,000 in cash awards and grants, and congratulated eight educators, two school districts, one early childhood agency and a public school board for being among the best in Texas. The program has given away more than $8 million in cash and grants since 2002.
 
Neil deGrasse Tyson delivered the keynote address to a ballroom packed with hundreds of educators, elected officials, community leaders and H-E-B employees. Tyson is a renowned astrophysicist, researcher, author and host for television and radio shows exploring the frontiers of science.
 
The following winners were selected from a pool of 58 finalists by judges who include former winners, school administrators, and university and community leaders.
 
The 2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Winners Are:
 
Rising Star
The Rising Star Category recognizes teachers with less than 10 years of experience. Winners received a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their school.
 
  • Rising Star Elementary: Hilda Nanez, Green Valley Elementary, Galena Park ISD, Houston 
  • Rising Star Secondary: Alexandra Edwards, Killeen High School, Killeen ISD, Killeen 
 
Leadership
The Leadership Category honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. Winners received a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their school.
 
  • Leadership Elementary: Tammy Verstrate, LaVace Stewart Elementary, Clear Creek ISD, Kemah 
  • Leadership Secondary: Martha Saucedo, Brady High School, Brady ISD, Brady  
     
Lifetime Achievement
The Lifetime Achievement Category salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. Winners received $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their school.
 
  • Lifetime Achievement Elementary: Laurie Holmes, Popham Elementary, Del Valle ISD, Del Valle 
  • Lifetime Achievement Secondary: Mark Misage, Westlake High School, Eanes ISD, Austin
 
School Principal
Winning principals received $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for each of their schools.
 
  • Principal Elementary: Sandy Conklin, Samuel Beck Elementary, Northwest ISD, Trophy Club 
  • Principal Secondary: Delia McLerran, Young Women's Leadership Academy, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio 
 
Early Childhood
The winning early childhood facility received a $25,000 cash prize.
 
  • Sunshine Cottage, San Antonio, TX: Belinda Pustka, Director
 
School Board
The winning public school board received a $25,000 cash prize.
 
  • Somerset ISD, Somerset, TX: Dr. Omar Pachecano, Board President
 
Small School District
The winning small school district received a $50,000 cash prize.
 
  • Valley View ISD, Pharr, TX: Rolando Ramirez, Superintendent
 
Large School District
The winning large school district received a $100,000 cash prize.                                                      
  • Leander ISD, Leander TX: Dr. Bret Champion, Superintendent

                                                        
About the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards:
H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas. It has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.

H-E-B asks customers, Partners (employees) and community members to nominate teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards in Texas. Each nominee is sent an invitation to complete an application online and is asked about their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom. 
 
A team of judges reviews the applications, narrowing the field to semi-finalists. From that pool, five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators, and university and community leaders not affiliated with H-E-B select 40 teacher and principal finalists. Finalists and their schools receive a cash prize of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category.
 
Three separate panels select eight school districts and five early childhood facilities as finalists, awarding $2,500 to $5,000 in cash prizes. Up to five school boards may also be recognized, and awarded $5,000 towards the district they serve. Additionally, one or more school boards may receive a special judge’s award totaling up to $25,000. Site visits are conducted to determine winners.
 
Teacher and principal finalists are invited to San Antonio in May to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling more than $400,000. A statewide panel of judges not affiliated with H-E-B conducts a personal interview with each finalist to select winners.
 
Eight winners — two principals and six teachers — are named along with two school districts, one large and one small, a public school board and an early childhood facility, at a celebratory dinner on May 13.
 
Each winning principal—one elementary school and one high school—will each receive $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools. The winning large school district will receive a $100,000 cash prize and the winning small school district will receive $50,000. The winning Early Childhood Facility will receive $25,000 and a school board could be awarded up to $25,000.
 
The six winning teachers will include one elementary and one secondary teacher in each of three categories:

The Rising Star Award — honors exceptionally promising teachers with less than 10 years of experience. These winners will each receive a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their schools.
 
The Leadership Award — honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. These winners will each receive a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their schools.
 
The Lifetime Achievement Award — salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. These teachers will each receive $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools.
 
*For a full list of the 2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education finalists, please visit
heb.com/education.
 
Photos of winners at the banquet: http://thedeberrygroup.smugmug.com/HEB/Excellence-in-Education/2016/EIE-Banquet-2016

Broll of winners, including general b-roll images, winner announcements, winner sound bites and sound bite with Kate Rogers, H-E-B Vice President for Corporate Communications and Health Promotion. 
http://bit.ly/2016EIE

Photos of finalists during surprise visits: http://thedeberrygroup.smugmug.com/HEB/Excellence-in-Education/2016/2016-Finalist-Visits

Headshots of all finalists: http://thedeberrygroup.smugmug.com/HEB/Excellence-in-Education/2016/EIE-2016-Finalist-Head-Shots-

@HEB awards $430K to 2016 Excellence in Education winners from across #Texas during #HEBeducation awards ceremony
 
@HEB recognizes outstanding public educators in TX during 2016 Excellence in Education awards ceremony #HEBeducation
 
About H-E-B
H-E-B, with sales of more than $23 billion, operates more than 370 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2015. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience at everyday low prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs more than 86,000 Partners in Texas and 9,000 Partners in Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities. For more information, visit
heb.com.

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