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Library media specialist and bilingual pre-kindergarten teacher honored as distinguished educators
by Carla Sierra
On Friday, March 22, two San Antonio-area educators were honored for their commitment and passion during the 2019 Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This award recognizes outstanding classroom performance, leadership, and community service.
The 2019 Trinity Prize recipients are Andrea Greimel, bilingual pre-kindergarten teacher at Carvajal Early Childhood Education Center in the San Antonio Independent School District, and Katie Michna, library media specialist in the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District.
Greimel brings a global perspective to students. As a bilingual pre-kindergarten teacher she immerses her students, connecting them to the material in the classroom. She demonstrates this by using two languages during instruction and including constant references to the culture of her students as it relates to concepts and to the literature they are reading. Greimel has 30 years of experience in the classroom and taught in Mexico early in her career. She says one of her greatest accomplishments as an educator is bringing advocacy for the second language learners. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and French from the University of Minnesota and master’s degree in bilingual-bicultural education from the University of Texas at Austin.
Michna is a native Texan who grew up on the outskirts of east Houston close to the Houston Ship Channel in a suburb named Galena Park. She received her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, Texas, and her master’s of science degree in curriculum and instruction (reading) from the University of Southern Mississippi. Michna’s love of books and teaching continued to blossom, and In 2007 she made the move to Fort Sam Houston Independent School District in San Antonio because she had a calling to work within the military community. This past summer, the opportunity arose for Michna to change from teaching high school English to working in the media center as a library media specialist. It is here, that she has been able to empower students and their families to “get lost in the books,” and to fall in love with the power of words.
Recipients of the prize, which is sponsored by Trinity’s Department of Education, each received a cash award, a crystal apple, and a proclamation from the City of San Antonio, signed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg ’99. A panel of San Antonio business and community leaders, along with an outstanding senior student in the University’s education program, selected the winners. All 19 finalists were recognized.
This year, the Whataburger Foundation joined Trinity in sponsoring the prize activities by contributing $25,000. In addition, the Whataburger Foundation will recognize a teacher with a What-A-Teacher Award at his or her home campus.
Members of this year’s selection committee were Kimberly Anderson, first lady of Trinity University, Alice Gannon, former USAA senior executive and Trinity alumna, Robert Rivard, co-founder and publisher of the non-profit Rivard Report, Khaniya Russell, outstanding senior in education, and Tina Torres, attorney and former judge.
During the ceremony, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy Manning, delivered the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching lecture. She teaches newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash.
See photos from this event in the photo gallery below:
For more information contact, Trinity’s Department of Education at 210-999-7501.