TCTA member Melinda Gaona Schermerhorn, a Next Generation Digital Classroom teacher at Elsa England Elementary in Round Rock ISD, took home the elementary-level Rising Star honor at the 2015 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony May 3. Schermerhorn was among the Texas educators and school districts recognized at an awards ceremony in Austin, where Sir Ken Robinson, internationally recognized authority in creativity and innovation in education and TED talk presenter, delivered the keynote address. H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt awarded $430,000 in cash awards and grants.

The Rising Star Category recognizes teachers with less than 10 years of experience. Winners received a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their school.


TCTA member Anne Peppers, a pre-K teacher at the East Central Development Center in East Central ISD, was also a finalist in the elementary-level Rising Star Category. On February 17, Peppers was surprised at her school with a $1,000 check and the news that she was a finalist. She was also among the educators honored in Austin.

The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards celebrate public school professionals whose leadership and dedication inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities. It has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.