EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Anthony Lopez-Waste, a history teacher at Canutillo High School, has been named a finalist for the 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year.
Lopez-Waste is one of six finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year, and the only one in the El Paso area.
“I live in Canutillo. This is my community. This is my school. This is where my kids graduated from, so just being able to represent Canutillo and the City of El Paso is special enough,” said Lopez-Waste, who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years prior to becoming a teacher. “At the end of the day this honor is shared with our students because this doesn’t happen without the kids. It’s really an honor to represent the city because there are thousands of teachers that could and should be sitting in the same chair.”
Canutillo Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz set up a surprise celebration at the school on Wednesday to honor Lopez-Waste’s accomplishment.
“Mr. Lopez-Waste is a champion in life and in the classroom,” Galaviz said. “His story of perseverance in his career and his passion for sharing his experiences with students is what makes him an inspiration to our students. That outstanding example is what makes our teachers among the best in the region, the state and even the nation.”
He is one of only three secondary school teachers to represent their areas at the state level in the recognition program to honor the state’s most outstanding teachers.
The finalists were selected from the 40 Texas Regional Teachers of the Year. On Aug. 29, a panel of judges composed of representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year’s Texas Teacher of the Year finalists selected the finalists — one elementary and one secondary teacher from each of the 20 Texas Education Service Center regions.
The six finalists will be interviewed Sept.12, by a panel of judges composed of representatives of educational leadership associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State Board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year.
The panel will select two state-level winners — Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year — and designate one to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program. The winners will be announced during the virtual TASA|TASB Convention on Sept. 30.