McAllen Educator Named Teacher of Year


McAllen Educator Named Teacher of Year

Jennifer Han, a product of McAllen ISD and a current fourth-grade teacher at Seguin Elementary, is the 2022 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. She is the third teacher in McAllen ISD history to win this prestigious award, the most in the Valley.

On Oct. 22, Han was surprised with the news by many of her fellow teachers plus officials representing the city, county and state. Students from the James “Nikki” Rowe High School drum line and cheerleaders added pomp to the occasion.

“It is a huge blessing,” Han said. “You’re representing a whole group of amazing educators (in the state). I could not be more honored.”

“The great state of Texas is a powerhouse when it comes to education,” said McAllen ISD Superintendent Dr. J.A. Gonzalez. “There are more than 3,000 elementary (schools) across the state. It says a lot about her determination (and) her ability to teach children. She brings a lot of passion and a lot of love to the table and that’s the reason why she’s the Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.”

Han is now in her 14th year of teaching and is also a robotics team coach. She shared some words for her fellow educators.

Jennifer Han
Jennifer Han

“You are real-life heroes,” she said. “Truly and honestly, it is a calling. It is a job that requires super-human strength, patience and love and without God in the midst of that, it’s an impossible task to do. So, that’s why we wake up every single day and we come into the classroom because we know we were called to do this. I’m very thankful to be able to work along your side. It’s my honor really.”

Seguin Elementary Principal Juan Nevarez, described her strong points.

“Her strengths are her passion for her kids and her school,” he said. “She gives everything from her heart. When she works with the kids and works with the staff, you can tell it’s coming from deep inside her. It’s life changing. Her job is changing lives.”

Han is a 2003 graduate of McAllen Memorial High. She holds bilingual generalist and Spanish certifications and a bachelor of science in education from the University of Texas at Austin with honors, magna cum laude. She expressed her appreciation for those who nurtured and guided her.

“I just want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to my teachers,” she began. “I’m just so blessed that somebody was there to notice me, to believe in me, to push me. That’s part of who I am today. That’s what inspiring teachers do. I’m very, very grateful to be a part of McAllen ISD. As a product of McAllen ISD, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that there are great educators in this district. The secret to McAllen ISD’s success is our unity. We work together.”

Han became a state finalist on Aug. 20, shortly after being named Regional Elementary Teacher of the Year. She earned the McAllen ISD District Elementary Teacher of the Year award in May.

Since fall 1991, McAllen ISD teachers have earned an astounding 21 Regional or State Teacher of the Year titles – the most in the region. McAllen ISD teachers won the State award in 1993 (Secondary) and 2009 (Elementary).