Alamo Heights ISD teacher Jeff Wheatcraft (third from left) was named the Texas Teacher of the Year Friday afternoon. Credit: Courtesy / Patti Pawlek-Perales

Alamo Heights Junior School STEM Coordinator Jeff Wheatcraft has been honored with his second major teaching award of the year.

On Friday afternoon, the Texas Association of School Administrators named Wheatcraft the Secondary Teacher of the Year and the Texas Teacher of the Year. He will compete with educators across the country for National Teacher of the Year just months after he also won the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

An Arizona native, Wheatcraft has worked in San Antonio education since 2006 when he began as a science and art teacher at Kirby Middle School in Judson ISD. In 2012, he started at Alamo Heights Junior School as the STEM coordinator.

In his current role, Wheatcraft teaches eighth-grade science and oversees the STEM program, which focuses on students solving real-world problems while learning design and fabrication skills.

The STEM program was initially designed to feed into the high school’s rocketry program. In Wheatcraft’s six years, the STEM class grew beyond the original intent.

Wheatcraft also manages a fabrication lab and writes grants to support the program.

The Alamo Heights educator said his teaching philosophy centers around inclusion. As Teacher of the Year, his message to his fellow educators was that the “sky is the limit” and that students can achieve anything “if you let them.”

“[T]he way I run my class is distinctive and I find value of my place alongside my students is truly that of a facilitator,” Wheatcraft wrote in his Trinity application. “I want to teach students not what to think, but how to think.”

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.