EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Saturday night, the area’s second largest school district announced their teachers of the year.

Socorro Independent School District conducted its 2022 Teacher of the Year Gala May 14 at the El Paso Convention Center, honoring Irasema Torres and Vanessa M. Payan as tops in the district.

As the 2022 SISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, Torres teaches at forth grade at Vista Del Sol Elementary. She’s been teaching for 15 years and says she aims to help all students overcome obstacles and reach their full potential.

Torres said she was honored to be recognized along with her fellow teachers of the year at the special event.

“I realize I am now a role model,” Torres said. “I know that every single step in my career, even outside of the classroom, I can be a role model for not only my students but to other educators as well.”

As for Payan, the 2022 SISD Secondary Teacher of the Year, she teaches at Hurshel Antwine Middle School. She is a theater arts teacher who has been in education for 13 years. SISD officials say she is an energetic teacher who strives to ensure that her students stay positive and motivated.

Payan said she was grateful to represent teachers in general, but especially educators in the fine arts.

“My students said, ‘You got it, Ms. Payan,’” she said. “My students always think the best of me. They’re going to be just as excited as I am because they know they are just as big a part of my success as anything.”

SISD Superintendent Nate Carman, Ed.D., and Board of Trustees President David O. Morales congratulated all Campus Teachers of the Year and thanked all teachers for their outstanding work in leading students to seize their opportunities.

The Elite 8 finalists also were given a special recognition for their success in the classroom.

KTSM Chief Meteorologist Monica Cortez was the master of ceremonies at the event, which drew more than a thousand SISD teachers, family members and special guests.

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