TASA, which facilitates the Texas Teacher of the Year program, has named Marissa Torres, a third-grade teacher from White Settlement ISD, the 2018 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Tara Bordeaux, a media arts teacher from Austin ISD, the 2018 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Bordeaux was chosen to represent the state as Texas Teacher of the Year in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
The announcement was made at the Texas Teacher of the Year awards luncheon on Friday, September 15, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. Both state-level winners will receive a cash award and a commemorative trophy.
Also honored during the luncheon were the Regional Teachers of the Year and the finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year: Amy Hooten, Paris ISD; Andrea Lucas, San Antonio ISD; Andrea Garza, United ISD; and Gary Strickland, Coleman ISD.
2018 Texas Teacher of the Year
Tara Bordeaux, Lanier High School, Austin ISD
“I know first-hand how hard life can be on a young heart, and I know how easy it is to give up. I know, because I did, and I dropped out of high school,” said Tara Bordeaux, 2018 Texas Teacher of the Year (and Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year).
“My hope is that as a teacher, I can inspire my students to persevere, and succeed in ways I never could. I believe that every student deserves the opportunity to learn from teachers who truly care about the impact they are making in a child’s life,” she said. “I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to give students the chance to chase their dreams and learn how to believe in themselves even if the world gives them reasons to stop believing.”
Bordeaux has taught media arts at Lanier High School in Austin ISD since 2013. Prior to that, she spent 10 years working in television and film production in Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in film and photography from the University of Texas at Arlington. In her four years as an educator, Bordeaux has built a nationally recognized media arts program. Her students’ work has been featured in national advertising for Alamo Drafthouse Theaters, PSAs televised on PBS, and documentary short films premiered at SXSWedu. It has also won multiple awards in film production competitions.
2018 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year
Marissa Torres, Blue Haze Elementary School, White Settlement ISD
“One of my goals as a teacher has always been to create lifelong learners who will contribute positively to their community,” said Marissa Torres, 2018 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, who teaches third grade and serves as the third-grade team lead at Blue Haze Elementary in White Settlement ISD near Fort Worth.
“I don’t want to just help students arrive at the ‘right answer’ in my classroom. I want to help guide them to become independent problem solvers who can apply their skills and knowledge beyond the classroom,” she said. “Starting on the first day of school, I strive to connect everything we do to the real world and to emphasize the importance of contributing positively to both our classroom community and their outside communities.”
Torres hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in elementary and special education from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, and a master’s degree in literacy education from the State University of New York at Oswego. She has taught in White Settlement ISD since 2012 when she moved to Texas from New York, where she began teaching in 2006. Torres was elected, by a schoolwide vote of her peers, to attend the Ron Clark Academy teacher training in 2016 and instructs other teachers on implementing the strategies she learned at the Ron Clark Academy.
Texas Teacher of the Year Program
To achieve recognition as Texas Elementary or Secondary Teacher of the Year, a teacher must first be chosen as a campus and district teacher of the year, then a regional honoree. From the group of 40 regional teachers of the year, six finalists are chosen and interviewed by an independent panel of judges composed of representatives of education associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State Board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year.
The state’s top elementary and secondary teachers are selected from these six finalists, and the Texas nominee for National Teacher of the Year is chosen from the top two winners. In 2015, Texas Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples of Amarillo ISD was the second Texas teacher to be named the National Teacher of the Year.
The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in classroom education since 1969 and continues to annually recognize and reward teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching. The program operates with financial support and in-kind contributions from the following:
Texas Association of School Administrators
Texas Retired Teachers Association
Texas Association of School Boards
Texas School Public Relations Association
Professional Association Sponsors
Association of Texas Professional Educators
Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Texas Association of School Business Officials
Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators
Texas Association of Secondary School Principals
Texas Classroom Teachers Association
Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association
Texas State Teachers Association