Two University of Houston-Clear Lake School of Education alumni and a current student were selected as Exceptional Teacher Candidates by the Texas Quest for Qualityproject,a state initiativehighlighting exemplary quality in university-based teacher preparation programs.
Jehovanissi “Jo” Solis, Martha Pacheco and Evelyn Aaron were chosen from a group of nominees from across the state. Selected by a group of six independent state and national reviewers they represent the top five percent of teacher candidates in their class and demonstrated outstanding classroom skills, knowledge and effectiveness.
“These teacher candidates reflect quality and excellence in every aspect of teaching,” says UH-Clear Lake School of Education Associate Dean Kathy Matthew. “Their dedication to teaching and their passion for teaching makes them outstanding role models for educators and most importantly for their students. This is a well-deserved honor.”
UHCL graduate Solis is a third-grade bilingual teacher at Greta Oppe Elementary School in the Galveston Independent School District, where she also completed her classroom internship. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with EC-6 Bilingual Generalist Certification in spring of 2012.
“Teaching is something I have always been passionate about,” says Solis. “I feel I am giving back to the community by helping develop a student’s knowledge and skills that will be necessary for their future success.”
Solis’ student teacher supervisor while at Greta Oppe Elementary, Dana Miller, found her to be the rare intern who had both passion and honed skills. “She has the enthusiasm and no fail attitude that comes with youth, but she also has an incredible skill set for such a young professional,” wrote Miller in recommending Solis for the award.
Pacheco completed her studies December 2012, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with EC-6 Bilingual Generalist Certification. She performed her internship in the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District as a summer aide.
“Learning and helping others are two things that I love to do, and teaching offers both,” says Pacheco. “Most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to help make a difference in a child's life just like my teachers did for me.”
UHCL Senior Lecturer Norma Minter recommended Pacheco for the honor. Minter was impressed with the way the young teacher “confronts problems that arise in a solution-focused manner that engages the best thinking of all involved.”
Aaron, an intern in the Galena Park Independent School District, says, “I love science and I love to teach.” She will complete a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with 4-8 Science Certification in May 2013.
UHCL Senior Lecturer Nancy Wright recommended Aaron for consideration, noting that “Aaron has a unique gift for making complex processes clear, and she inspires others to be confident and curious about science and math principles.”
The Quest for Quality project is the first phase of a three part program that partners with Texas universities to identify and highlight exceptional students and faculty, exemplary instructional and programmatic practices, and applicable research. The project is designed to support the goals of Closing the Gaps, a state initiative to help strengthen Texas’ economic base, and overall work force for the future. Among its goals are increasing student participation and success in higher education.
University of Houston-Clear Lake’s School of Education offers course work and field experiences toward more than 65 different degree or certification programs, including eight graduate programs, six professional certificates and the teacher certification program, certifying in more than 40 specializations and teaching fields. For more information about the School of Education, visit http://soe.uhcl.edu.