Pre-K 4 SA students line up outside of their bus at the San Antonio Food Bank. Photo by Scott Ball.
Pre-K 4 SA students line up outside of their bus. San Antonio voters will get to decide in May whether Pre-K 4 SA deserves to maintain its eighth-of-a-cent sales tax funding for eight more years. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

H-E-B announced Alamo Heights ISD, Pre-K 4 SA, and the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City school board as finalists for its Excellence in Education awards Friday.

The grocery store chain and education advocate grants awards to teachers, schools, districts, and school boards each year. This year H-E-B will award $85,000 to finalists in the school district, early learning center, and school board categories. Finalists in the large district, early childhood center, and recognized school boards categories will each receive $5,000. Small school district finalists get $2,500.

Finalists will go on to compete for larger prizes at the state level. Teacher and principal finalists will be invited to Austin on May 6, 2017 to an award ceremony for the announcement of cash prizes totaling more than $400,000.

This is the 16th year that H-E-B has hosted the Excellence in Eduction Awards. Three years ago, in recognition of the importance of district leadership, it added the school board recognitions. To date, the program has awarded $8.5 million to Texas educators.

Candidates are nominated by their community and undergo an in-depth review process by a panel of their peers, past winners, university leaders, and community leaders to select semi-finalists and finalists. A statewide panel of judges, which is not affiliated with H-E-B, conducts a personal interview with each finalist to select winners.

The 2017 school district and early childhood finalists, as well as recognized school boards, are as follows:

Large School Districts 

Allen ISD – Allen, Texas

Brownsville ISD – Brownsville, Texas

Grand Prairie ISD – Grand Prairie, Texas

Northwest ISD – Fort Worth, Texas

Socorro ISD – El Paso, Texas

Small School Districts

Alamo Heights ISD –  San Antonio, Texas

Hutto ISD – Hutto, Texas

Lake Travis ISD – Austin, Texas

Early Childhood Education Facilities

Vogel Alcove – Dallas, Texas

Dalton Early Childhood Center – Uvalde, Texas

Victoria ISD – Victoria, Texas

John H. Cherry – Bay City, Texas 

Pre-K 4 San Antonio Education Center – San Antonio, Texas

Public School Boards

Harlingen ISD – Harlingen, Texas

Dripping Springs ISD – Dripping Springs, Texas

Fort Bend ISD – Sugar Land, Texas

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD – Bedford, Texas

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD – Schertz, Texas

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