2022 Region 11 Teachers of the Year Named - Press Release
Every fall, the Texas State Teacher of the Year Program honors 40 Regional Teachers of the Year, among which are two State Teachers of the Year — one in elementary education and one in secondary education — and four state finalists. These regional teachers represent each of the 20 Education Service Center regions in Texas. The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) took over the administration of the Teacher of the Year Program in 2011.
Learn More Here
Gainesville ISD - Nora Moreno
Granbury ISD - Priscilla Lumbreras
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Download a PDF
August 2, 2022
Gainesville, Granbury ISD Teachers Named Regional Teachers of the Year
(White Settlement, TX). A Gainesville ISD elementary teacher and Granbury ISD secondary teacher have been selected to represent the north Texas region in this year’s state Teacher of the Year competition. Nora Moreno, a bilingual/dual-language kindergarten teacher at Thomas Edison Elementary School in Gainesville ISD, and Priscilla Lumbreras, a biology teacher at Granbury High School in Granbury ISD, were named the 2022 Region 11 Teachers of the Year during a special awards ceremony on August 2, 2022. The event, hosted by the Education Service Center Region 11 and generously funded by the EECU credit union, recognizes all of the teachers of the year from school districts in the north 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. Seventy-five teachers, representing 41 school districts in Region 11, participated in this year’s competition.
District winners who competed for the regional award were required to submit their resumes describing their educational history and professional development. In addition, they were asked to write their own professional biography as well as five lengthy essays detailing:
- a defining lesson they have developed,
- a special project or initiative they have participated in that creates school culture,
- an example of how they connect students to the community,
- how they have grown as a leader and learner as a result of being an advocate, and
- their message/platform should they be selected as the national teacher of the year.
The regional selection panel, comprised of teachers (including three past regional winners), assistant principals, and central office staff from school districts within Region 11, reviewed and scored all of the essays before selecting Moreno and Lumbreras as the regional winners. In addition to these two regional winners, 10 teachers (five elementary candidates and five secondary candidates) were recognized with a “best of category” essay award.
Nora Moreno is a kindergarten teacher in Gainesville ISD. She earned her associate’s degree in science from North Central Texas College in Gainesville. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies (with a major in bilingual education) from Texas Woman’s University.
Moreno’s story detailing her childhood poverty and working to help support her family touched a special chord with the judges.
“All you have to do is read her bio to know why she is so special,” commented John Williams, a judge from Mansfield ISD. “You hear about poverty situations, but I personally have never heard anything like this!”
“She came from extreme poverty to become an outstanding educator,” agreed Dr. Richard Valenta, a judge from Denton ISD. “Her story is so incredible…she only went through the eighth grade and got her GED before attending junior college and later TWU.”
“Her message is so powerful,” shared Alexis Miller, a judge from Lewisville ISD. “Her journey is inspirational to all – whether you are a first-year teacher or a 30-year veteran – her story will resonate with you!”
Moreno’s philosophy of education has always been that every student has the capabilities to learn and grow through dedication, love, and support.
Priscilla Lumbreras is a biology teacher in Granbury ISD, a position she has held for five years. Prior to that, she served as an 8th-grade science teacher in La Joya ISD for seven years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in science education from Western Michigan University. She is currently serving a one-year appointment as a STEM Ambassador for the Department of Defense, an honor that she shares with 15 other educators throughout the country.
Lumbreras’ application carried a recurring theme of promoting education and supporting teachers.
“She is very adamant about calling for teachers to advocate for our profession,” commented Chandra Turrentine, a judge from Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.
Dr. Jeff Russell, a judge from Denton ISD, agreed. “She focused on the importance of teachers not standing alone, but instead supporting and advocating for each other,” he shared. “They need to have a voice and to use it.”
Lumbreras constantly seeks nontraditional professional development opportunities to ensure that the experiences in her classroom are as cutting-edge as possible for her students.
Moreno and Lumbreras will now compete at the state level for the Texas Teacher of the Year award. The Texas Association of School Administrators’ selection committee will meet to review the applications of the regional winners on August 15-16, 2022, and then name three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers as state semifinalists in the competition. These six semifinalists will then participate in an interview with the selection committee on October 20. The elementary and secondary state winners will be announced at the end of October.
The 10 “best of category” essay award winners recognized at the ceremony are:
Defining Lesson/Unit Essay
- Elementary – Allison McCowan, Lake Dallas ISD
- Secondary – Zameika Williams, Crowley ISD
- Elementary – Erica Jones, Springtown ISD
- Secondary – Andy Sealy, Lewisville ISD
Connecting Students to the Community Essay
- Elementary – Christina Hayes, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD
- Secondary – Melinda Malone, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD
Growing through Advocacy Essay
- Elementary – Jenne Brauchle, Keller ISD
- Secondary – Josh Smith, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD
National Teacher of the Year Platform Essay
- Elementary – Alea Peña, Decatur ISD
- Secondary – Kristy Butler, Northwest ISD
For more information, contact:
Lori Burton, Chief Communications Officer
ESC Region 11
817-740-3690 or 817-235-4809 (cell)