Eric Hale, a Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher at David G. Burnet Elementary School, was named 2021 Region 10 Elementary Teacher of the Year at a special virtual celebration on July 30. The event, hosted by Region 10 Education Service Center, recognizes all teachers of the year from school districts in the north central Texas region. The Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators, allows districts to submit one elementary and one secondary candidate to compete at the regional and state levels. This year, 113 teachers from across 63 school districts in Region 10, participated in this competition.
“Mr. Hale’s students understand that what they’re doing today is important. They are very serious about learning, but they also know how to have fun,” Sonia Loskot, David G. Burnet Elementary Principal, shared. “He is a believer that you have to be true to yourself, so he uses his musical talent to speak messages to his students and to make his teaching more rich.”
District winners competing for the regional award submitted their resumes describing their educational history and professional development. Moreover, they were tasked with answering five essay questions detailing their professional biography, a defining lesson they have developed, a special project or initiative to improve overall school culture, how they deliberately connect their students with the community, identify a major public education issue, and how they would serve as spokesperson for all teachers and students, should they be selected as the state teacher of the year. The regional selection panel carefully reviewed and scored all of the essays before selecting the regional winners.
Hale uses his background understanding of poverty and trauma to guide his students to excellence no matter what the obstacle. He empowers his students educationally, emotionally, and socially so they can thrive at the highest levels of global society.
“I know all children can thrive, not just survive, their public-school education if they are provided a safe, nurturing, and engaging environment where the only thing higher than the rigor is the joy of the experience,” Hale said. “I know we as Americans are facing some dark times, but we must keep the faith and remember that some of the brightest minds come from the darkest places.”
Hale, and fellow winner, Helen Arceneaux of Richardson ISD, will now compete at the state level for the Texas Teacher of the Year award. The selection committee of the Texas Association of School Administrators will review the applications of the regional winners in August. Following that meeting, three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers will be named as state semifinalists in the competition.
These six semifinalists will then travel to Austin for an interview with the selection committee. TASA will announce the 2021 Texas Teachers of the Year at the Virtual TASA/TASB Convention, which is scheduled for Sept. 30 – Oct. 2.