Temple ISD Educators Recognized During Region 12 BESA Celebration

TEMPLE, Texas — Four Temple Independent School District educators have been recognized by ESC Region 12 for their work with bilingual students and programs. The educators were honored during Region 12’s BESA (Bilingual and English as Second Language Awards) ceremony earlier this week.

The BESA Awards are in their second year and the event was created to help recognize professionals working in Emergent Bilingual and ESL classes and departments. Award categories include peer nominations for the Texas Education Agency’s Title III Symposium along with team awards and individual honors. Michael Hobbs, the principal at Bonham Middle School, was recognized as the Secondary Leader of the Year – Middle School. Lillian Olazagasti, an ESL teacher at Temple High School, and Herminia Alvarez, an ESL teacher at Lamar Middle School, were both recognized for their commitment and dedication to the bilingual students and programs in Temple ISD. Both Olazagasti and Alvarez will be retiring at the end of the school year. Isa Lopez, a kindergarten teacher at Thornton Elementary School, was also recognized by Region 12 as a nominee for Bilingual Teacher of the Year. Hobbs and Lopez will both be considered for state level recognition at the Title III Symposium in July.

“I am very appreciative to Region 12 for being recognized for my leadership and dedication to Bonham Middle School and our ESL program,” Hobbs said. “It is the effort and energy of the Bonham teachers and staff that deserve all the credit. The love and support we give the ESL students, and all students is abundant every day. This year, we made every effort to keep ESL families engaged on how to make their student successful in on-level content and language proficiency. The family response was incredible, and it will continue to grow at both Bonham and in Temple ISD.

The TEA Title III Symposium will be held in July, but the BESA Awards ceremony allows all the Region 12 nominees to be recognized at a local level, The event also gave attendees an opportunity to connect and learn from each other. For the team and individual awards, professional development attendance, school performance and projects, and other achievement data were considered as award criteria. According to Region 12, participation in this year’s BESA celebration more than doubled from last year’s inaugural event.

“I am honored to work with such wonderful leaders in Temple ISD,” said Connie Sisneros, director of bilingual and ESL for Temple ISD. “Our leaders are role models and mentors to our teachers. Every action, every step taken, is critical in the advancement of our students academically and linguistically. Having advocates like the ones that we have in TISD, certainly demonstrates how we, as Dr. Ott would say ‘spread the empire.’ Dr. Ott (TISD Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott) and Dr. Adams (TISD Deputy Superintendent of Academics and School Leadership Dr. Lisa Adams) were also present to support Mr. Hobbs as he was recognized. This is indicative of the support and commitment that they have invested in all of us. I am proud to work in Temple ISD.”

Temple ISD serves more than 1,300 Emergent Bilingual students, or a little more than 15% of the student population through its Bilingual and ESL programs. The demographic has grown so much that the department will add another newcomer center for middle school students.