Wanke teacher named Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year

August 24, 2014

For the sixth consecutive year, Northside ISD can claim a Region 20 Teacher of the Year. The 2015 Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year is Gina Reina, a gifted and talented teacher at Wanke Elementary School.

Reina will now move to the next level of competition and will vie to be one of six finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year, an annual competition organized by the Texas Association of School Administrators. The Elementary Texas Teacher of the Year and the Secondary Texas Teacher of the Year will be announced in October.

Reina was honored in March as Northside’s Elementary Educator of the Year. She has been teaching for more than 30 years, with 26 years in Northside. Reina says it would be difficult to have high expectations for her students if she didn’t also demand that same level of commitment from herself. With her students she stresses the importance of education, emphasizes community service, and says the three R’s for success in her classroom are respect, responsibility, and rigor.

“I am the facilitator of knowledge and show students strategies to become an independent learner for life,” Reina says. “I am still hoping to be invited to an Inaugural Ball or Nobel Prize ceremony one day in honor of one of my former students who took up the challenge of making a difference in the world.”

Education Service Center Region 20 includes more than 50 counties in San Antonio and surrounding areas. More than 14 school districts submitted nominations for Teacher of the Year.

Recent honorees from Northside ISD include:

  • Dr. Maricela Alarcon, formerly Burke Elementary School, now vice principal at Mead Elementary School, 2010 Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year, 2010 state finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year.
  • Daniel Leija, formerly Esparza Elementary School, now teacher at Behlau Elementary School, 2011 Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year, 2011 Texas Teacher of the Year.
  • June Shanahan, formerly Scobee Elementary School, now teacher at Los Reyes Elementary School, 2012 Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year, 2011 Runner-Up Texas Teacher of the Year.
  • Theresa Heim, Connally Middle School, 2013 Region 20 Secondary Teacher of the Year, 2013 state finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year.
  • Barbara Purkhiser, Galm Elementary School, 2013 Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year.
  • Christian DeBerry, Hobby Middle School, 2014 Region 20 Secondary Teacher of the Year, 2014 state finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year.