Cypress-Fairbanks ISD was named the large district winner during the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony honoring outstanding public schools on Sunday in Houston. Recognized for outstanding commitment to student achievement, parental and community involvement and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators, CFISD was chosen for the award among five large district finalists, and earned a $100,000 cash award.
“I’m fortunate to be a part of a district with a lot of special people who make a large school system feel like a tight-knit community,” said Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools. “It’s gratifying to accept an award that recognizes the positive impact of public education in Texas.”
During the ceremony, Hamilton Elementary School principal Dr. Catherine Bartlett was chosen among 10 finalists as the winner for the statewide Principal Award, honoring the top campus leaders and achievers in the state. Bartlett, who was selected as a finalist for the award in March, received a $10,000 cash prize and a $25,000 grant for Hamilton Elementary. “It is an honor to receive the H-E-B Excellence in Education award. I am so proud of our Hamilton staff and students, and I love having this opportunity to brag on them a little more,” said Bartlett. “Next week we will begin gathering student ideas for the use of our school's prize money. I love visiting with the children and working with them to make Hamilton the best school it can be.”
H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education awards program in 2002 in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) as a positive way to support public education in Texas. In its 11 years, the program has generated more than $5.5 million to educators, schools and districts across the state. More than 4,000 nominations were submitted at the beginning of the year for the award, which resulted in 800 completed applications submitted by nominees that were reviewed by judges from the Colleges of Education at Trinity University and Texas State University. Judges narrowed the field to 148 teachers, 47 principals, 19 early childhood facilities and 25 school districts, which competed in the regional judging process in February. Five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators and university and community leaders selected the 40 individual statewide finalists, while the district finalists were selected by separate judging panels that reviewed their written applications and conducted individual site visits.
All finalists were invited to Houston for the awards celebration and special reception in their honor. During their stay, the teachers and principals participated in personal interviews with the statewide judging panel to determine a winner.