EL PASO, Texas -- Big congratulations are in order for one of Ysleta Independent School District's teachers. Michelle Sandoval was named the 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year on Friday.
Sandoval, an eighth grade teacher at Parkland Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators at a special ceremony and luncheon in Austin, Texas. It's the states highest honor for middle and high school teachers
The 12-year teaching veteran and graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso was one of 40 Regional Teachers of the Year and one of six state finalists -- three for elementary school teachers and three for secondary school teachers.
"I'm blessed and I'm thrilled to finally say that I'm the Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year," Sandoval said during her acceptance speech. "It has a beautiful ring to it," Sandoval said.
She was selected out of two other state finalists Kami Dodds of Brady ISD and Jennifer Garner of River Road ISD.
Sandoval is a graduate of Parkland High School, Parkland Middle School, and Parkland Elementary School. During her speech, she thanked YISD, Region 19, her administrators and family as they've supported her. She spoke of how her first grade elementary school teacher influenced her.
"I said I will come back to YISD and I will come back to teach in my community," Sandoval said. "As life has come full circle I now teach at my alma mater...I will and always will be from 'the Park,'" she said.
Sandoval said she always tells her students to give back to the community, and spoke about the impact El Paso has on her life and how she's proud to be an El Pasoan.
"Being named Texas Teacher of the Year is an amazing accomplishment for myself, but on Monday, when I can tell all my students that anyone from our neighborhood can make it, we'll make it all about bringing it home to the city of El Paso.
She closed her speech, encouraging teachers and administrators throughout the state of Texas who attended the TASA ceremony to teach with kindness everyday.
"Human beings are sitting in desks all across the beautiful state and sometimes the best part of their day is all of you," Sandoval said. "Be someone's 'why' and know your 'why' everyday waking up and being blessed with another day of work."
YISD told ABC-7 Sandoval is also a coach and Student Council sponsor. Congratulations to El Paso's very own Michelle Sandoval!