EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- Ysleta Independent School District officials honored its top teachers and support person during a gala Saturday night at the Centennial Club on Fort Bliss.

Sageland Elementary School teacher Adrian Stevens and Eastwood High School teacher Jose Rivas Jr. were honored as Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year. The district also recognized Naomi Castro from Parkland High School as the 2023-2024 Support Employee of the Year.

Stevens, which holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), was inspired to become a teacher by his second grade P.E. teacher at Pasodale
Elementary School, and in college through internships where he met several mentors.

“They inspired me to make a true difference in the lives of children and our future generations.
I can’t state enough what an impact they had on my growth as a teacher, coach, motivator,
advocate, and leader,” Stevens said.

Stevens’ students refer to him as someone who is easygoing and fun who takes the time to get to know them, holds them accountable, and always pushes them to be better.

Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Carrie Molinar (Del Norte Heights ES),
Priscilla Olivas (East Point ES), Crystal Estrada (Parkland Pre-K Center) and Jose Lozano (Presa ES).

Rivas, who holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate from UTEP, has been at Eastwood High School for 19 years. His passion for science was ignited by his fourth-grade teacher in California whom he describes simply as a “great biologist” who inspired him to pursue biology.

Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were Mireya Perez (Eastwood MS), Omar Muñoz
(Hanks MS), Shelley Prather (J. M. Hanks HS), and Isaac Mitre (Plato Academy).

Castro, which has worked for Ysleta ISD for eight years at Parkland High School, attributes her professional success to her versatility and ability to adapt to any environment. As campus secretary, Castro is invested in and passionate about her campus and attends countless extracurricular events in support of Parkland area students, schools and the community.

Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were Lidia Madrid, (Eastwood HS), Amy Perez
(Central Office), Ida Russell (Scotsdale ES) and Monika Sepulveda (Ysleta HS).

In addition, Stevens and Rivas will now go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year competition for ESC Region 19.

A list of all 2023-2024 YISD campus Teachers of the Year and Support Employees of the Year
can be found on the district’s main website here.