2016 Excellence in Education Finalists

The wait is over! The 2016 Excellence in Education regional finalists have been announced. Each finalist's love of learning and leadership have made them all winners to the students they inspire every day.

To determine overall statewide winners, a panel of judges visits each district, early childhood facility and school board, tours campuses and talks with administration, staff, parents and community members.

Winners will be announced at the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony on May 13, 2016 in San Antonio. The winning large district will receive $100,000; the winning small district $50,000. An early childhood facility will receive $25,000. If selected, one or more school boards will receive up to a total of $25,000.

The 2016 finalists are as follows:

Rising Star Elementary

  • Stephanie Stoebe, Teravista Elementary, Round Rock ISD
  • Sarah Aguirre, Colonies North Elementary, Northside ISD
  • Hilda Nanez, Green Valley Elementary, Galena Park ISD
  • Meghan Zigmond, H.G. Olsen Elementary, Port Aransas ISD
  • Jay Fisher, Howard Dobbs Elementary, Rockwall ISD
Rising Star Secondary
  • Rachel Foreman, Dripping Springs High School, Dripping Springs ISD
  • Jarrett Lipman, Claudia Taylor "Ladybird" Johnson High School, North East ISD
  • Bree Welter, Ross Sterling Middle School, Humble ISD
  • Yvette Nevarez, Alton Memorial Jr. High, Mission CISD
  • Alexandra Edwards, Killeen High School, Killeen ISD

Leadership Elementary
  • Michelle Cardenas, Hillcrest Elementary, Del Valle ISD
  • Melinda Valdez, Henry Steubing Elementary, Northside ISD
  • Tammy Verstrate, LaVace Stewart Elementary, Clear Creek ISD
  • Adriana Whitwell, East Side Intermediate, Palacios ISD
  • Julie Levesque, Chapel Hill Elementary, Chapel Hill ISD

Leadership Secondary
  • Kristi Carruthers, Burnet High School, Burnet CISD
  • Steve Davidson, Douglas MacArthur High School, North East ISD
  • Michelle Nelson-Archer, Sartartia Middle School, Fort Bend ISD
  • Caleb Swaringen, IDEA College Preparatory McAllen, IDEA Public Schools
  • Martha Saucedo, Brady High School, Brady ISD

Lifetime Achievement Elementary
  • Laurie Holmes, Popham Elementary, Del Valle ISD
  • Cynthia Wallace, Dr. Joe Ward Elementary, Northside ISD
  • Lori Burton, Jean C Few Primary School, Jasper ISD
  • Marianne Mojica, Windsor Park Elementary, Corpus Christi ISD
  • Robin Higgs, Hilltop Elementary, Argyle ISD

Lifetime Achievement Secondary
  • Mark Misage, Westlake High School, Eanes ISD
  • Bryan Degner, Boerne Middle School North, Boerne ISD
  • Ann Linsley, Bellaire High School, Houston ISD
  • Bill McIntire, W.B. Ray High School, Corpus Christi ISD
  • John Gable, Thomas Jefferson High School, El Paso ISD

Principal Elementary
  • Betty Jenkins, Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy, Austin ISD
  • Mary Helen Cover, Rita Kay Driggers Elementary, Northside ISD
  • Dr. Michael Marquez, Margaret S. McWhirter Elementary, Clear Creek ISD
  • Yolanda Castillo, Graciela Garcia Elementary, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
  • Sandy Conklin, Samuel Beck Elementary, Northwest ISD

Principal Secondary
  • Dan Diehl, Bedicheck Middle School, Austin ISD
  • Delia McLerran, Young Women's Leadership Academy, San Antonio ISD
  • Angela Lundy-Jackson, North Houston Early College High School, Houston ISD
  • Dr. Sandra Clement, Foy H. Moody High School, Corpus Christi ISD
  • Dr. Janice Lombardi, Trinidad "Trini" Garza Early College, Dallas ISD

  • Leander ISD - Leander
  • Socorro ISD - El Paso
  • Galena Park ISD - Houston
  • Allen ISD - Allen
  • Katy ISD - Katy

  • Dripping Springs ISD - Dripping Springs
  • Valley View ISD - Pharr
  • Midway ISD - Woodway

  • Central Texas 4C, Inc. - Temple
  • Sammy's House CDC - Austin
  • SEARCH Homeless Services - Houston
  • Hidalgo ISD - Hidalgo
  • Sunshine Cottage - San Antonio

  • Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD - Pharr
  • Alamo Heights ISD - San Antonio
  • Humble ISD - Humble
  • Somerset ISD - Somerset
  • Allen ISD - Allen