Lizeth Sampayo, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Folks MS, was told by her principal Shawn McKenzie that they were having an assembly in the gym on the Pillar of Respect. She had no idea it was all a ruse.
As students and teachers anxiously awaited the start of the assembly, Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods walked into the gym to address the crowd about what they thought was the importance of respecting others and not being a bully.
With cheerleaders and football players from Harlan High School to pep up the 7th graders who were gathered for the assembly, Dr. Woods began addressing the crowd, but stopped what he was saying and introduced Sarah Forgany, KENS 5 morning anchor. Forgany explained the real reason for the assembly – the announcement that Sampayo is the 2018-19 EXCEL Award winner for NISD.
“I feel very humbled,” she said as the students applauded the announcement. “I do it for all the students.”
Sampayo is in her 20th year of teaching, all in NISD.
As the third child of six, Sampayo said that she didn’t always feel important. She had trouble learning English while her siblings did not.
“I struggled in school and was retained in second grade and then skipped third grade,” she said. “I recall feeling not adequate but eventually my language skills improved along with my school work.”
“My confidence grew through teachers who encouraged and supported me. I realized that I could succeed and my future was one with endless possibilities. That’s what I want my students to learn and experience,” she said.
The EXCEL Award is given to outstanding teachers in San Antonio by KENS 5 and Credit Human representatives who joined the assembly and presented Sampayo with a silver apple and a $1,000 check.
The story will air on KENS this Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to see pictures from the surprise announcement