By Allana J. Barefield
Congrats are in order for elementary school teacher Eric Hale who is Texas Teacher of the Year.
Hale teaches third graders in the Dallas Independent School District at David G. Burnet Elementary School and he found out the good news during the recent Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards Convention.
When Hale heard the announcement he said he was completely overjoyed. This accomplishment makes him the first Black teacher to ever receive the award.
For the selection process, there were several judges including: leaders in the communities, business owners, and a member from the State Board of Education.
He has won numerous other awards. Hale was honored by the Dallas Mavericks as a finalist for the Classroom Champions in 2018 and coached the first ever Dallas ISD Amazing Shake Competition Champion awarded in June 2018.
According to his bio, in 2015, he was named a Distinguished Teacher (Exemplary) for ranking in the top 1 percent in district-wide teacher performance and was later recognized among his peers as Teacher of the Year. In 2016, he was a top-10 finalist for the prestigious Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice, which spotlights public school teachers who demonstrate exceptionally effective teaching with students from high-poverty communities.
Hale’s story is of trials and triumphs growing up in and out of shelters. His grandmother played a huge role in his life to stay the course.
“She supported me, she taught me how to pray, and she gave me faith in God,” Hale said. “The same way I fight and advocate for my kids, I learned that from my grandmother.”
Hale graduated from Wright State University with a BS in Organizational Leadership and MEd in Education Administration from Texas A&M Commerce.