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H-E-B has announced the winners of the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, a program the retailer launched in cooperation with TASA in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas.
At the 15th annual awards ceremony, held in San Antonio, 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.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson delivered the keynote address to a ballroom packed with hundreds of H-E-B employees, community leaders, elected officials, and educators.

The following winners were selected from a pool of finalists by judges who include former winners, school administrators, and university and community leaders.

2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Winners

Large School District

Leander ISD — Dr. Bret A. Champion, Superintendent ($100,000 cash prize)

Small School District

Valley View ISD — Rolando Ramirez, Superintendent ($50,000 cash prize)

Early Childhood Education Facility

Sunshine Cottage — San Antonio — Belinda Pustka, Executive Director ($25,000 cash prize)

Public School Board

Somerset ISD — Omar Pachecano, Board President ($25,000 cash prize)

School Principal

The winners received $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for each of their schools.

Sandy Conklin, Samuel Beck Elementary, Northwest ISD

Delia McLerran, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, San Antonio ISD


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 schools.


Laurie Holmes, Popham Elementary, Del Valle ISD

Mark Misage, Westlake High School, Eanes ISD


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 schools.


Tammy Verstrate, LaVace Stewart Elementary, Clear Creek ISD

Martha Saucedo, Brady High School, Brady ISD (Saucedo is also the 2016 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year!)

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 schools.


Hilda Nanez, Green Valley Elementary, Galena Park ISD


Alexandra Edwards, Killeen High School, Killeen ISD

The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards have become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.