2019-2020 Amazing Teacher Honorees

San Antonio is home to some of the best public, charter, and private schools in the state (and country!) and part of what makes them so great is the abundance of dedicated, innovative, enthusiastic, and all-around AMAZING teachers. We’re so grateful that kids in San Antonio get to experience the classroom with these educators.

With schools suddenly closing, all teaching and learning moving to online platforms, and entire lesson plans being thrown out the window, San Antonio teachers did a remarkable job changing direction and plotting a new course for students this spring. Though we typically honor just one Amazing Teacher each year, it seemed apropos to honor several and so we present our 2019-2020 Amazing Teachers. Thank you for sharing about them with us!

Thank you to Half Price Books for providing gift cards for our Amazing Teachers as a small ‘thank you’ for everything they do!

Nancy Esquivel

Nominated by Desirae R.: “Nancy Esquivel kindergarten teacher at NISD Fields ES (NISD). She truly loves all of her students and showed it every day during the school year. Now with distance learning, she goes above and beyond for her students to help them stay engaged and motivated and to have fun with it !! She’s truly amazing and a blessing to have as a teacher during this much-changed first school year for us!

Teaches Kindergarten at Fields Elementary, has been teaching for 19 years
Tell us about your favorite unit/lesson to teach and what makes it special/enjoyable to teach.

This is my 19th year teaching and I absolutely love Kindergarten! My favorite lessons are hands-on activities! I really enjoy bringing learning to life. I would have to say Science and Math are my favorite subjects! The best teaching week of the year is Week of the Young Child. We get to have so much fun and let our students be creative in new ways! I really enjoy teaching and seeing them grow!

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher and what is your favorite part of teaching?

I was in 2nd grade when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My teacher was so nice and I wanted to be just like her. I would take extra papers home to play school and pretend to grade work. Then erase it all to reuse!

Anything else you’d like to add or share?

I am a proud wife and mom of 3 girls. I am an OLLU graduate and have taught Early Childhood Special Education for 16 years and 3 years in kinder. I have loved my journey and have learned so much from colleagues and students! Looking forward to year 20! My students are my purpose as an educator and I thrive through seeing them grow and learn. Being appreciated by my parents is just an amazing feeling! I am so blessed!

 

Kayla Bruns

Nominated by Chelsea L.: “Ms. Bruns at Kuentz Elementary is the absolute best teacher we have ever had. She has been a mentor teacher to our oldest and has taught our youngest for both kinder and first grades. She has such an amazing presence and truly loves the kids that come through her door.”

Teaches First Grade at Kuentz Elementary, has been teaching for 20 years
Tell us about your favorite unit/lesson to teach and what makes it special/enjoyable to teach.

I love teaching anything that has to do with literacy. One of my favorite lessons is when my littles and I all dress up as doctors and we perform “vowel surgery” to find the missing vowels in words.

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher and what is your favorite part of teaching?

I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was a little girl and would play school with imaginary students and I would spend all of my allowance on teacher edition textbooks at the teacher supply store. My favorite part about teaching is the impact I can make in children’s lives. It is so special to see their growth throughout the year, too.

Anything else you’d like to add or share?

Teaching is one of the most demanding, yet most rewarding jobs in the world. I am so blessed to be a teacher!!!

Erick Mata

Nominated by Ashley R.: “We love our school and teachers! Erick Mata teaches 3rd grade at Coker Elementary and he has gone above and beyond all year long, but especially these last few months. He hosts daily live lessons and zoom calls for the kids to interact. He always looks for ways to make things fun, like dressing as Chewbacca for May 4th and playing virtual Lotería with his students. We love him and are so sad our school year with him ended this way. #rootedcoker

Teaches Third Grade, dual language/bilingual at Coker Elementary, has been teaching for 6 years
Tell us about your favorite unit/lesson to teach and what makes it special/enjoyable to teach.

I love making math fun, tangible and enjoyable – integrating technology so students can create green screen videos, movies, and app smashing to solve and act out their math problems.

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher and what is your favorite part of teaching?

I have always loved teaching kids and kids usually tend to respond to me very well. I knew this was meant for me. I love making learning fun and helping kids become hardworking leaders.

 

Elisabeth Anderson

Nominated by Amanda D.: “My daughter’s teacher Elisabeth Anderson is the best! She is so loving & encouraging with her students! We are so sad our year was cut short of being with her. Anyone that meets her can tell instantly that she really loves her job.

Teaches Second Grade at Hidden Forest Elementary, has been teaching for 17 years
Tell us about your favorite unit/lesson to teach and what makes it special/enjoyable to teach.

Text Connections- I love seeing the kids make connections from the text whether it be with another book/a connection they have had themselves or a connection to the world. It really draws them into the love for reading.

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher and what is your favorite part of teaching?

I knew I wanted to be a teacher in 2nd grade. I had an amazing teacher and just loved school. My favorite part of teaching is the kids. I love having new groups every year and making connections with each of them. Seeing them grow in their learning throughout the year and have new friendships is so rewarding.

Amanda
A fifth-generation San Antonionian - who happened to spend her formative years in Austin - Amanda loves the SAT from the confetti in her hair to the bluebonnets under her feet. Never one to miss a reason to host a party or decorate for a theme, Amanda revels in the 'mas Fiesta' attitude of the city. She's mom to Vivi (2012) aka #HurricaneVivi and wife to Francois, whom she met at Texas A&M (FTAC '05). She has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and a Doctorate in Making it Up As She Goes - which means she's a sometimes-fun-mom. You can find her on Instagram . She loves confetti, croissants, and a cold Ranch Water. Favorite Restaurant: Piatti's Favorite Landmark: Johnson Street footbridge in King William Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Fiesta Medals