State Board of Education News

SBOE celebrates award-winning educators

The State Board of Education honored award-winning educators at its January board meeting, recognizing the state Teachers of the Year, the Superintendent of the Year, the Milken National Education Award winner, and finalists and awardees of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). 

Board members opened the meeting by hearing from the 2020 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year Karen Sams of the Weatherford Independent School District (ISD) and the Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year Michelle Sandoval of Ysleta ISD, as well as the Texas Superintendent of the Year Keith Bryant from  Lubbock-Cooper ISD.

The educators stressed the power of public education. Bryant recalled a student named Lori whom he met during his first year of teaching. No one in her family had ever graduated from high school. He worked with her throughout the year and vividly recalls holding the door open for her as she entered her graduation ceremony in cap and gown.

“That inspired me to remember that every kid can be successful. No matter the background, no matter the color, no matter the socioeconomic background of a student, he or she is capable of learning,” Bryant said.

Sandoval who teaches math at Ysleta ISD’s Parkland Middle School, said “We are molding students every day to be resilient.”

Sams, a teacher at David Crockett Elementary School in Weatherford, said she has a motto posted in her classroom that she reads every day before class starts. It says: “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

Learn more about these recognition programs at