A panel of judges composed of representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year's Texas teacher of the year finalists selected the finalists from the 40 Texas regional teachers of the year—one elementary and one secondary teacher from each of the 20 Texas Education Service Center regions.
Holden is an English II and AP art history teacher. She has taught at the high school for the past 20 years of her 21-year career in education.
"Over the years I have found how important it is for students to know that someone sees or hears them," she said in a press release. "When I find out that students are going through hardship, I find the time to speak to them privately."
She said she asks them to share what's going on and offers her support.
"Sometimes that looks like giving them a few extra days to work on a project; sometimes it means finding a kid a pair of glasses; and sometimes it is as simple as sending them to the restroom to get themselves together after a good cry," she said.
Holden founded the high school's Fight Club, an organization that helps teachers support students in crisis, and the Cavalier Lounge, a community-supported resource pantry that provides necessities for students in need.