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Educators from Judson and Southside Independent School Districts honored for commitment and passion to education
by Sydney Rhodes ’23
Dorothy Cardenas and Carol Ann Calderon were named the recipients of the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching during an unconventional Zoom ceremony on May 8, 2020. The award was given to them as a recognition of their dedication and distinction as educators in the San Antonio area.
Cardenas is a dyslexia therapist at Olympia Elementary School in the Judson Independent School District (JISD), and Calderon is a third-grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School in the Southside Independent School District (SISD).
Cardenas has known from early on that teaching is her calling. She works to make her classroom a place where students are encouraged to persevere, and parents and other teachers are included in helping the kids succeed. She keeps a bulletin board of famous people with dyslexia in her classroom to show her students that they can achieve big things too. Cardenas also serves on her district’s Dyslexia Advisory Committee, which discusses the changes in the state dyslexia handbook, current Texas dyslexia laws, and special education practices. She holds a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from Texas Lutheran University and a master’s degree in education from the Concordia University of Texas.
Calderon is a born-and-raised Texas girl who discovered her love for teaching when she worked as a summer intern at a daycare when she was 19. She now works to ensure that all of her students have every chance to succeed by setting up weekly meetings for open discussion between parents, teachers, and students, and by making sure that everyone is comfortable in the classroom environment. Calderon holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University in Kingsville, Texas.
"I want to congratulate the two recipients, Carol Ann Calderon (Southside ISD) and Dorothy Cardenas (Judson ISD) for this year's Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching,” said Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, Ph.D., chair of Trinity’s Department of Education. “They exemplify the very best in the teaching profession.”
“I would also like to congratulate all of our Distinguished Educators that were nominated this year. As many of us are ‘homeschooling’ our children during this COVID 19 crisis, I believe we have gained a greater appreciation of the immense work and skill required to teach our children let alone 20-40 children at one time," said Jiménez-Castellanos.
The Trinity Prize was launched in 1982 to honor public school teachers who are set apart in their teaching practice through outstanding classroom performance, leadership in the school and school district, contributions to the education profession, and stellar community service.
Recipients of the Prize, which is sponsored by Trinity’s Department of Education and Whataburger, each received $2,500 and a crystal apple. A panel of San Antonio business and community leaders, along with two outstanding senior students in the University’s education program, selected the winners. All 17 finalists were recognized.
Members of this year’s selection committee were Kimberly Anderson, first lady of Trinity University, Dawn Cole, Community Experience Supervisor at Whataburger, Madison Taylor Carolin ’20, Outstanding Senior in Elementary Education at Trinity, Alice Gannon ’75, former USAA senior executive and Trinity alumna, Shealsy J. Nolasco Orellana ’20, Outstanding Senior in Secondary Education at Trinity, and Robert Rivard, co-founder and publisher of the nonprofit Rivard Report.
During the ceremony the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson, delivered the Trinity Prize lecture. He became a teacher to honor his mother, who struggled to receive an education after being denied an education as a child due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. Robinson’s classroom is a collaborative between himself and his students, and is anchored in him providing a civic-centered education that promotes social emotional growth.
For more information, contact Trinity’s Department of Education at 210-999-7501.