Lindale High School speech and drama instructor J.P. Fugler has been named a finalist for the 2018 H-E-B. Excellence in Education Awards, publicity officials announced.
Officials informed Fugler of his selection this past week and was presented with two, $1,000 checks – one for himself and one for Lindale High School. Fugler was unaware of the honor and only found out about it when H-E-B representatives visited his classroom with balloons, cookies and flowers.
LHS staff and administrators joined in the celebration as well.
Fugler has been named a finalist in the Rising Star Secondary category and will compete at the statewide level against four others in this category for a cash prize of $5,000 for him and $5,000 for the school.
H-E-B officials said the Excellence in Education program is the largest of its kind in Texas and one of the largest in the nation.
In all, there will be 12 finalists to be invited to Houston on May 5-6 to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling $430,000.
H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas.
Teachers, principals, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards across the state are nominated by H-E-B customers and employees.
Each nominee is sent an invitation to complete an application online and is asked about their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom.
A team of judges reviews the applications, narrowing the field to semi-finalists.
From that pool, five regional judging panels comprised of former winners, administrators, and university and community leaders not affiliated with H-E-B select 40 teacher and principal finalists.
Finalists and their schools receive a cash prize of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category.
The six winning teachers include one elementary and one secondary teacher in each of three categories:
The Rising Star Award — honors exceptionally promising teachers with less than 10 years of experience. These winners will each receive a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their schools.
The Leadership Award — honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. These winners will each receive a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their schools.
The Lifetime Achievement Award — salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. These teachers will each receive $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their schools.