H-E-B chairman and CEO Charles Butt stands on stage during the 2015 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards on Sunday. Courtesy photo.

Over the last 15 years, H-E-B has awarded $8 million in recognition of creativity and best practices in Texas public education, making it the largest monetary program for educators in the state. Today it announces the 2016 Excellence in Education school district and early childhood category finalists, as well as five school boards recognized for their outstanding leadership.

The finalists announced today will receive a combined total of $85,000 and go on to compete for larger prizes at the statewide level. Finalists in the teacher and principal categories will be announced in February and March.

Finalists are nominated by community members and selected by a panel of education professionals at every level, including past winners. Each finalist listed below will be visited by a team of judges. The judges will talk to administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and community members to determine the overall winner.

Each finalist in the large district and early childhood categories, as well as the five recognized school boards, will receive $5,000; the two finalists in the small district category will receive $2,500.

Winners will be announced at the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony on May 13 at La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. The winning large district will receive $100,000; the winning small district $50,000. An early childhood facility will receive $25,000. If selected, one or more school boards will receive up to a total of $25,000.

The 2016 school district and early childhood finalists, as well as recognized school boards, are as follows:


·         Leander ISD — Leander, Texas

·         Socorro ISD — El Paso, Texas

·         Galena Park ISD — Houston, Texas

·         Katy ISD — Katy, Texas

·         Allen ISD — Allen, Texas


·         Dripping Springs ISD —  Dripping Springs, Texas

·         Valley View ISD — Pharr, Texas

·         Midway ISD – Woodway, Texas


(Includes TEA Approved nonpublic schools.)

·         Central Texas 4C, Inc.— Temple, Texas

·         Sammy’s House – Austin, Texas

·         SEARCH Homeless Services – Houston, Texas

·         Hidalgo ISD – Hidalgo, Texas

·         Sunshine Cottage – San Antonio, Texas 


·         Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD – Pharr, Texas

·         Humble ISD — Humble, Texas

·         Allen ISD — Allen, Texas

·         Alamo Heights ISD – San Antonio, Texas

·         Somerset ISD – Somerset, Texas

*Top image: H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt stands on stage during the 2015 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards on Sunday. Courtesy photo. 

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Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.