Company Recognized Outstanding Educators and School Districts with Cash Prizes and Grants Totaling $430,000

Sunday, May 5, H-E-B announced statewide winners for the 18th annual H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards during an awards ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Austin. During the ceremony, H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt handed out $430,000 in cash awards and grants, and congratulated eight educators, two school districts, one early childhood agency and a public school board for being among the best in Texas. The program has given away more than $10 million in cash and grants to Texas teachers and schools since 2002.

Daniel Pink delivered the keynote address to a ballroom packed with hundreds of educators, elected officials, community leaders and H-E-B employees. Pink is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about business, work and behavior that have won multiple awards and have sold more than three million copies worldwide.

The following winners were selected from a pool of 58 finalists by judges who include former winners, school administrators, and university and community leaders.

The 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Winners Are:

Rising Star

The Rising Star Category recognizes teachers with less than 10 years of experience. Winners received a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their school. 

Rising Star Elementary: Vanessa Gruner, JC Kelly Elementary, Hildalgo ISD

Rising Star Secondary: Tasha K. Jones, Tuloso Midway High School, Tuloso Midway ISD



The Leadership Category honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. Winners received a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their school.

Leadership Elementary: Celena Miller, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

Leadership Secondary: Dr. Nghia Le, Booker T. Washington High School and The High School for Engineering Professions, Houston ISD


Lifetime Achievement

The Lifetime Achievement Category salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. Winners received $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their school.

Lifetime Achievement Elementary: Andrea Greimel, Carvajal Early Childhood Education Center, San Antonio ISD

Lifetime Achievement Secondary: Jodi Ramos, Coke Stevenson Middle School, Northside ISD


School Principal

Winning principals received $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for each of their schools.

Principal Elementary: Irma Davis, Dishman Elementary School, Harlingen CISD

Principal Secondary: Laura Gomez, South Houston Intermediate, Pasadena ISD


Early Childhood

The winning early childhood facility received a $25,000 cash prize.

SEARCH’s House of Tiny Treasures, Houston


School Board

The winning public school board received a $25,000 cash prize.

Del Valle, ISD, Del Valle


Small School District

The winning small school district received a $50,000 cash prize.

Roma ISD, Roma


Large School District

The winning large school district received a $100,000 cash prize.

Socorro ISD, El Paso