2019 Texas Teachers of the Year

  • On September 14, 2018, TASA named Jeff Wheatcraft, an eighth-grade science teacher in Alamo Heights ISD, as the 2019 Secondary Teacher of the Year, and Rhonda Peña, a fifth-grade teacher in Mission CISD, as the 2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year. Wheatcraft was chosen to represent Texas as Texas Teacher of the Year in the National Teacher of the Year competition. See photos from the awards ceremony.

    Jeff Wheatcraft, 2019 Texas Teacher of the Year

    Jeff Wheatcraft “Over the past four years, I have been charged with the creation and caretaking of our school’s STEM program,” said Jeff Wheatcraft, 2019 Texas Teacher of the Year (and Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year). “I have worked collaboratively with other teachers and the administration to craft a program that has enhanced the learning opportunities of our students while changing the school’s culture, especially regarding young women in STEM fields.”

    “Originally, we designed the course to feed into our high school rocketry program. But in three years, the STEM class has grown both figuratively and literally beyond the confines of the classroom we occupy. The majority of lessons are real-world problems with no definitive solution. I want students to know that there are still problems we are facing that need to be solved, and they have the skills to find solutions.”

    Wheatcraft teaches eighth-grade science at Alamo Heights Junior School, where he has taught since 2012. Prior to that he taught at Kirby Middle School in Judson ISD for six years. In addition to being named Alamo Heights ISD Teacher of the Year and Region 20 Secondary Teacher of the Year this year, Wheatcraft is the 2018 recipient of the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching and has twice been nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

    See his Teacher of the Year video, produced by Alamo Heights ISD.

     
    Rhonda Peña, 2019 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year 

    Rhonda Pena “Our students are our future,” said Rhonda Peña, 2019 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. “They deserve to have every ounce of our efforts to help guide them toward a productive life. By building a relationship with each of our students, we are also building the respect that they will have for us, for each other, and for themselves, and we are setting the path towards a successful life.”

    Peña, who teaches fifth-grade mathematics, has taught at Bryan Elementary for the past 25 years of her 28-year career in education.

    She has been chosen as Bryan Elementary School Teacher of the Year twice: in 2018 and 2012, and as Mission CISD Teacher of the Year this year. In 2017, she received the prestigious H-E-B Excellence in Education Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Read news coverage about Peña.

    See her Teacher of the Year video, produced by Mission CISD.

     
    Contact: Jennifer Garrido, Texas Teacher of the Year Coordinator

2019 Texas Elementary & Secondary Teachers of the Year

  • On September 14, 2018, TASA named Jeff Wheatcraft, an eighth-grade science teacher in Alamo Heights ISD, as the 2019 Secondary Teacher of the Year, and Rhonda Peña, a fifth-grade teacher in Mission CISD, as the 2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year. Wheatcraft was chosen to represent Texas as Texas Teacher of the Year in the National Teacher of the Year competition. Learn more.