AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz surprised all three teachers in their elementary, middle- and high school classrooms. He recognized James Supak, a physical education teacher at Zilker Elementary School; Quevette Terrell, director of the physical education department at Webb Middle School; and high school teacher Angela Del Grande, life skills instructor and director of the Transition to Life if the Community program at The Rosedale School.
One of the teachers will be named a finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year during a May 19 tribute to AISD employees at the newly constructed Performing Arts Center.
Each year, AISD gets to recognize three teachers who have gone above and beyond their teaching responsibilities to provide exceptional learning opportunities, Cruz said in a statement. I am proud of these teachers, as well as all the other exceptional staff we have throughout the district.
Get to know the winners
James Supak, Zilker Elementary School
Supak is a national board-certified P.E. teacher who seeks to prevent and treat childhood obesity.
The University of Texas alum has worked at multiple AISD schools since 2005. He is also the co-president of the Austin Association for Physical Education and Recreation, working to improve physical activity programs throughout the country.
He admits to being bullied while growing up, an experience he said he remembers as an educator.
I didnt want any child to go through the pain and embarrassment I suffered in PE class, Supak said in a statement, explaining he wants to be a guardian for his students so they will never have a negative PE experience at Zilker Elementary.
Quevette Terrell, Webb Middle School
Terrell is a coach and P.E. teacher at Webb Middle School, where she has taught for 12 years.
In 2010, she created a weekly mentorship program that pairs students and teachers. The program has grown to include more than 150 students and 45 participating teachers and staff members.
My passion and my purpose is to be a positive influence who inspires my students to be proud of who they are and strive to do better every day, Terrell said in a statement.
Terrell also created an after-school dance class program that has received invitations to perform at the Texas Legislature and the Dell Childrens Medical Center of Central Texas, among other places.
My relentless pursuit will be to inspire, support and encourage my students to dream big, she said.
Angela Del Grande, The Rosedale School
Del Grande gained full-time employment at The Rosedale School in 2008 one year after serving as a substitute teacher. She works with many of AISDs students with disabilities about what it takes to independently live and work after school.
Her role as a special education teacher is something Del Grande said she has wanted to do since the seventh grade. Her teacher at the time even told her, according to Del Grande, that she will do amazing things for the students of this world. Embrace the gifts you have.
She often escorts her students out of the classroom and into the community for vocational instruction. Del Grande also leads the Transition to Life in the Community project, which is geared toward 18- to 22-year-old AISD Life Skills students who need more support before leaving school.