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RSMS Teacher Bree Welter is an H-E-B Excellence in Education Finalist

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A group of H-E-B representatives carrying gifts of balloons, flowers and cake surprised Ross Sterling Middle School AVID Teacher Bree Welter with news that he is a finalist for a 2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, one of the largest monetary awards programs for educators in Texas and the nation.

Welter is one of only six teachers in the Houston area to be named as a finalist. "This award is because of all these kids...they are what makes me a good teacher," said Welter.  He received a $1,000 check for himself and a $1,000 check for RSMS. He is invited to compete against other educators for the chance to win a greater cash prize.
 
He is a finalist for the Rising Star Award, which honors exceptionally promising teachers with less than 10 years of experience. Winners will each receive a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their schools.

Overall statewide winners will be announced in May. Over the next two months, H-E-B is surprising finalists across the state and awarding $95,000 to principals and teachers.
 
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About the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards:

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.

H-E-B asks customers, employees and community members to nominate teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards in Texas. Each nominee is sent an invitation to complete an application online and is asked about their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom.

A team of judges reviews the applications, narrowing the field to semi-finalists. From that pool, five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators, and university and community leaders not affiliated with H-E-B select 40 teacher and principal finalists. Finalists and their schools receive a cash prize of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category.

Three separate panels select eight school districts and five early childhood facilities as finalists, awarding $2,500 to $5,000 in cash prizes. Up to five school boards may also be recognized, and awarded $5,000 towards the district they serve. Additionally, one or more school boards may receive a special judge’s award totaling up to $25,000. Site visits are conducted to determine winners.

Teacher and principal finalists are invited to San Antonio in May to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling more than $400,000. A statewide panel of judges not affiliated with H-E-B conducts a personal interview with each finalist to select winners.

Eight winners — two principals and six teachers — will be announced along with two school districts, one large and one small, a public school board and an early childhood facility, at a celebratory dinner on May 13.

Each winning principal—one elementary school and one high school—will each receive $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools. The winning large school district will receive a $100,000 cash prize and the winning small school district will receive $50,000. The winning Early Childhood Facility will receive $25,000 and a school board could be awarded up to $25,000.

The six winning teachers will include one elementary and one secondary teacher in each of three categories:

The Rising Star Award — honors exceptionally promising teachers with less than 10 years of experience. These winners will each receive a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their schools.

The Leadership Award — honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. These winners will each receive a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their schools.

The Lifetime Achievement Award — salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. These teachers will each receive $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools.