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YISD educator wins 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year

Michelle Sandoval Michelle Sandoval, an eighth-grade math teacher at Parkland Middle School in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), has been named the 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, besting hundreds of her peers to win the state’s highest honor for middle- and high-school teachers.

Sandoval was named the winner by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) during a special awards ceremony and luncheon on October 25 in Austin, which honored the 40 Regional Teachers of the Year and the top six state finalists – three for the elementary level and three for the secondary level. A separate winner was named as the 2020 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.

“I feel so humbled and blessed and empowered to represent The District,” Sandoval, a 12-year teaching veteran, has said. “All of the other teachers I’ve met during this process have been amazing.”

This marks the sixth time that a YISD teacher has won Texas Teacher of the Year ­– that’s more than any other school district in the state! Sandoval first won Secondary Teacher of the Year honors at the campus, district, and regional levels before being named a state finalist in August with two others: Kami Dodds of Brady ISD and Jennifer Garner of River Road ISD.

Sandoval says her enthusiasm for education is still as present as the day she stepped inside the “energetic and loving” classroom of her first-grade teacher.

“She was a first-year teacher, and she was the ultimate example of an educator and true role model that I still aspire to be,” said Sandoval, who holds a bachelor’s degree from UTEP. “Her impact on my life was grand. I knew I wanted to become a teacher who would touch the lives of so many young minds.”

In addition to teaching, Sandoval also serves as a coach and Student Council sponsor, and always greets her students with a fist bump and high-five to get their class time started!

The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in education since 1969. The annual program, facilitated by TASA since 2011, recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.