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From TASA: Uvalde Teachers Honored by Texas Teachers of the Year

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 5/27/2022

2022 Texas Teacher of the Year Ramon Benavides and 2022 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year Jennifer Han have recorded the following tribute video to honor Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, the Uvalde CISD teachers whose lives were taken in their classrooms earlier this week.  

Uvalde Heroes from Texas Assoc of School Admin on Vimeo.

Video Transcript:  

Hello. My name is Ramon Benavides. I am a high school biology teacher in Ysleta ISD in El Paso, and I am the 2022 Texas Teacher of the Year. ... 

Hi. I'm Jennifer Han, and I am a fourth-grade teacher at McAllen ISD in the Rio Grande Valley, and I am the 2022 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. ... 

As Texas Teachers of the Year, and on behalf of my fellow Texas teachers, we thought it was important to honor the two Uvalde CISD teachers whose lives were taken as they tried so hard to protect their students. 

While what they did this week does indeed make them "heroes," the legacy they leave behind is much, much greater than that. Over the course of two decades, these two educators touched hundreds of lives. Whether it was giving a lesson or a hug, day in and day out, they made a difference. 

There are so many overwhelming thoughts, words, and emotions that I am feeling but this is not about me. It's about Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles and their lives as teachers. We would like to share a little bit about them. … 

Mrs. Irma Garcia and Mrs. Eva Mireles were veteran teachers. Mrs. Irma Garcia had 23 years of teaching, and Mrs. Mireles had 17. From what I have learned about them, they were inspirational and passionate educators who loved going to work at Robb Elementary, and they loved their students. 

Mrs. Irma Garcia was an award-winning educator. Most recently, in 2019, she was named the Teacher of the Year for her campus, where she had taught her entire career. A couple of years ago, she was also one of only 19 San Antonio-area teachers to be named a finalist for the prestigious Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching. 

Everyone who knew Mrs. Garcia has said that she was a "sweet, kind, and loving teacher" and that she treated all her students as part of her family. She and her husband, Mr. Joe Garcia, had four children of their own. But sadly Mr. Garcia has also passed. ... 

Mrs. Eva Mireles was a 17-year veteran educator who went "above and beyond." She was trained in bilingual and special education. By all accounts she was a positive, outgoing, and a fun person. In her daughter's sweet tribute to her, she said that Mrs. Mireles  had always been an inspiration to her. And now ... a hero. 

Mrs. Garcia and Mrs. Mireles had been co-teaching fourth grade together for five years. One of their coworkers, Natalie Arias, has said that Eva and Irma were "two of the greatest teachers Uvalde has ever known" and "their classroom was full of fun, growth, giggles, teamwork, and most of all, love." 

To all the hearts that were impacted by the work of these two amazing teachers, now is the time to share their stories. Let's honor them for their love and passion, but most importantly, let's honor them for the angels they are. 

A teacher’s work cannot be confined or constrained. A teacher's love transcends. I'm more than positive they are still being teachers wherever they are. They are still doing what they love to do with their little angels. 

I hope that they will be remembered and honored for the incredible legacy of love they have left behind. ... 

Teaching is not confined to the four corners of the classroom and is not limited by the perimeters of the schools. Teaching transcends the physical. Teaching shapes the hearts, the souls, and the minds. And as educators we set the foundation and we provide the mortar in building the future. 

And that is exactly what Mrs. Garcia and Mrs. Mireles did for their students and their community. So their work of love and their passion, and their ultimate sacrifice, should be forever remembered and honored at the highest level. ...

Please join us in prayer for the 19 students and two teachers, for everyone who is in the hospitals, and their families, and the Uvalde community. May God give them peace that transcends all understanding, may he renew their hope and their strength each and every day. 

Benavides is a biology teacher at Del Valle High School in Ysleta ISD in El Paso. He was named 2022 Texas Secondary of the Year in October 2021 and chosen to represent the state as Texas Teacher of the Year in the National Teacher of the Year program. 

Han is a fourth-grade teacher at Juan Seguin Elementary School in McAllen ISD in the Rio Grande Valley. In October 2021, she was named 2022 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) has coordinated the Texas Teacher of the Year program since 2011. TASA is the professional association for Texas school superintendents and other administrators. The mission of the organization, which focuses on professional learning, advocacy and member engagement, is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students.