EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Parkland Elementary School teacher Alexandria Sapien and Young Women’s Leadership Academy teacher Amy K. Smith were named Ysleta ISD’s 2022-2023 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year.

In addition, Marisela Bustillos from Ysleta ISD’s Central Office was named the 2022-2023 Support Employee of the Year.

Sapien, a kindergarten teacher at Parkland Elementary School, says she was inspired to pursue a career in education after working part-time at a daycare center during college.

I developed an unexpected passion for teaching and a genuine love in seeing the potential that children have in learning.

Alexandria Sapien, teacher, Parkland Elementary School

“Not a day goes by where I don’t feel the love through my students’ words and actions,” she said, adding that her goal is to become an animal-assisted therapist and continue working with children and teens in various settings.

Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Jessica Doporto (Constance Hulbert ES), Ana Martinez (Capistrano ES), and Jennifer Dunn Rojero (Lancaster ES).

Smith, a music teacher at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy, has worked as an educator for 23 years in Tennessee, Indiana, and El Paso. She also works as a part-time music therapist, helping individuals with disabilities in the El Paso area.

I am passionate about music therapy. I want to help each of my students reach their potential and allow music to enrich their lives.

Mary K. Smith, teacher, Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were Sandra Kneeskern (Parkland HS), Nallely Mendez (Ysleta MS), Dana Molden (Eastwood HS), and Andrea Rios (Riverside MS).

Bustillos, who has worked for the district for 11 years, is currently a senior administrative assistant in the Human Capital  Management Office. Ysleta ISD has played a major role in her life – she attended district schools as a youngster, began working at Central Office in her senior year at Bel Air High School, and her children will begin attending our schools next year.

Bustillos prides herself in maintaining a positive attitude and making sure she always participates and helps with any event taking place within her department – “I know my coworkers know I am always willing to help as much as I can,” she said.

Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were: Esther Brito (Pebble Hills ES); Tyler Chacon (Dolphin Terrace ES); Michelle Chaparro (Service Center); and Mariana Gil-Guerrero (Ysleta Pre-K Center).

The gala was held Friday, May 13, at the Starlight Event Center.

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