Ms Cavazos photo

Michelle Cavazos, a fifth-grade teacher at McAllen ISD’s Sanchez Elementary, has earned one of the top awards for bilingual education. 

Earlier this month, she was named the 2022 Bilingual Education Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE). She was recognized by the McAllen ISD School Board during its regular meeting held September 26.

She will be presented with her award at the 50th annual TABE Conference October 15 in Houston.

“Her dedication to the needs of English-language learners and her outstanding leadership attributed to TABE selecting Ms. Cavazos to represent the bilingual teachers of Texas,” TABE President Dr. Olivia Hernandez wrote in a letter. “The TABE Executive Board and the selection committee congratulate Ms. Cavazos and wish her the very best as she represents the Bilingual Education teachers of Texas.”

Cavazos will then become the TABE nominee in the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) Teacher of the Year competition.

“Michelle has many strengths, but her main strength is her ability to motivate her students to be the best they can be in all that they do,” Sanchez Principal Veronica Rodriguez said. “She is sincerely interested and invested in her students’ progress and getting them all to the next level. She promotes the beautiful culture that bilingualism brings and models the language with great pride.”

Cavazos has taught fifth graders in a dual language classroom at Sanchez for five years. Seeing herself in her students drives her passion, she said.

“I want for all my bilingual students to know the value and power they have of speaking more than one language,” Cavazos said. “Students need teachers to see that value in them and help them grow in all areas of the whole child: mentally, physically, academically, socially and emotionally.”

In McAllen ISD’s dual language program, students learn to read, write and speak in both English and Spanish. The program is housed at seven elementary campuses, one middle school and one high school.  

Cavazos can relate to her students, having grown up in McAllen. She graduated from James “Nikki” Rowe High in 2014.

“She is a living testament of your true limited English proficient child who worked diligently to learn the English language and excelled beyond all expectations and now shares her skills, knowledge and experiences with her own students,” Rodriguez said. “We are beyond blessed to have a teacher of her caliber on our campus.”

Cavazos earned the Rio Grande Valley TABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year honor on May 19. 

PHOTO:  Michelle Cavazos (front, with flowers) was honored by the McAllen ISD Board of Trustees at its regular board meeting on September 26, 2022. From left to right are, Trustee Daniel Vela, Trustee Sofia Pena, Superintendent Dr. J.A. Gonzalez, Board President Tony Forina, Ms. Cavazos, Board Secretary Marco Suarez, McAllen ISD Director of Bilingual Education Rocio Nava, Trustee Sam Saldivar Jr., Board Vice-President Debbie Crane Aliseda and Trustee Conrado Alvarado.