A group of H-E-B representatives carrying balloons, flowers, and a cake surprised Pine Forest Elementary fifth grade teacher Jennifer Howard on Feb. 22 with news that she is a state finalist for a 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, one of the largest monetary awards programs for educators in Texas and the nation.
Howard received a $1,000 check for herself and a $1,000 check for Pine Forest Elementary. She is a state finalist for the Rising Star Award, which honors exceptionally promising teachers with less than 10 years of experience. The state winner will receive a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their schools. The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards state winner will be announced May 7 in Austin.
Howard’s fun and interactive classroom continues to distinguish itself as a place where students thrive. Last April, she was also named the 2016-2017 Humble ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Her ability to connect with her students in a way that inspires a lifelong love for learning is influenced by her experiences as summer camp counselor working with underprivileged and foster children and her late mother, a former teacher at North Belt Elementary School with a dynamic personality.
“If students don’t want to be with you, it will be hard for them to learn from you,” Howard said. “I want to be a teacher they will always remember because of how I made them feel.”
H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas. It has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.