As we approach the year's end, Humanities Texas continues to recognize classroom teachers across the state for their critical role in advancing education in Texas. For December's Teacher Feature, we are pleased to highlight three 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award recipients and their recent award presentations. Stay tuned for more in 2018!

Victoria Longoria, Del Valle High School, Del Valle

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett presented Victoria Longoria with her Outstanding Teaching Award during a ceremony at Del Valle High School on Monday, November 27.

Longoria, who has taught English for over twenty years, currently teaches eleventh grade AP English language and composition at Del Valle High School. In 2016, she was a state semi-finalist for the H-E-  B Excellence in Education Lifetime Achievement Award.

Longoria is an avid proponent of fostering a global perspective within her students. In addition to choosing international texts, she also aligns her English curriculum with the history department, collaborating on an interdisciplinary approach to deepen her students' understanding of both subjects. She frequently attends both local and international seminars to bolster her own understanding of the material she teaches.

"Victoria Longoria engages her students to view our world through literature and history. Her students gain an introduction to global citizenship," said Congressman Doggett. "From my mini-town hall conducted before presenting her award, I could see how well-informed her students are about the challenges our country faces. Through her efforts, these Del Valle High School Cardinals are able to see the 'human' in 'humanities.'"

"While STEM seems to garner all the glory these days, the humanities hold the human context of education," said Longoria. "It is imperative that education embrace the humanities in order for future generations to promote the betterment of people, social equity, and a responsible citizenry."

Katie Carrasco, A. N. McCallum High School, Austin

Sarah Holloway, the district field director for U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul, presented Katie Carrasco with her Outstanding Teaching Award at A. N. McCallum High School on Thursday, November 30.

Carrasco, whose career spans fourteen years, teaches pre-AP world geography and AP human geography. She serves as co-chair of the social studies department at McCallum High School, where she was named teacher of the year in 2014. Carrasco has also earned teaching certification from the National Board of Professional Teachers and is a regular mentor to teaching interns and first-year teachers.

"Mrs. Carrasco's leadership among her students and colleagues is evidenced by her tireless dedication to her teaching and her intentional advocacy for the needs of her students," said McCallum High School principal Mike Garrison. "Her high energy and creative approach to the profession she loves make her a worthy recipient of the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award."

Carrasco strives to provide her geography students with relevant, innovative, and collaborative lessons that provide opportunities to examine their role as global citizens. In 2014, she founded Student Leaders Abroad, a campus club that promotes and facilitates service learning and leadership training in foreign countries. She has led student groups in a service learning program in the Dominican Republic and, in 2016, participated in and led students in a Human Rights and Holocaust Summit in Germany and the Netherlands.

"Through exposure to other cultures' literature, history, art, music, and religion, students learn empathy, and the line between what is foreign and what is familiar begins to disappear," said Carrasco. "Humanities education provides the common ground for cooperative globalization for the seven billion humans on this planet."

Paula Dolloff, Harlandale STEM Early College High School, San Antonio

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett presented Paula Dolloff with her Outstanding Teaching Award during a ceremony at Harlandale STEM Early College High School on Friday, December 15.

Dolloff has been teaching for twenty-five years. She currently teaches ninth grade English language arts at Harlandale STEM Early College High School, where she helped to build the school's English department from the ground up.

"Ms. Dolloff is not only an outstanding English teacher in our school, but others in our school district see her as a leader," said Eddie Rodriguez, principal of Harlandale STEM Early College High School. "Her style of teaching and care for our students are exceptional, and our students' level of learning is proof of what Ms. Dolloff has accomplished with her level of high expectations for everyone."

As the first English teacher at Harlandale STEM Early College High School, Dolloff was tasked with condensing two years of STAAR curricula into a single year so that her students would be ready to take college-level English in their sophomore year. In addition to successfully preparing her students for their college-level courses, Dolloff also began an after-school tutoring program to make sure they excelled in those classes.

"I learned quickly that it wouldn't be enough for me to teach the students English I and II and send them on their way," said Dolloff. "One day, during a tutoring session which was at the end of a particularly long day, a student remarked, 'Look at me. I never thought I would ever be able to go to college. And here I am. I'm doing it.'"

Outstanding Teaching Award winner Victoria Longoria accepts her award from Congressman Lloyd Doggett.
Victoria Longoria (center) receives her Outstanding Teaching Award during a presentation at Del Valle High School.
Outstanding Teaching Award winner Katie Carrasco receives her award from Sarah Holloway, district field director for U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul.
(From l to r:) McCallum High School Principal Michael Garrison; Bernie Carrasco; OTA winner Katie Carrasco; Humanities Texas program officer Sam Moore; Congressman McCaul's District Field Director Sarah Holloway; Austin ISD Trustee Julie Cowan; and Jim Ferguson.
(From l to r:) Harlandale STEM Early College High School principal Eddie Muzquiz Rodriguez, Humanities Texas communications officer Marissa Kessenich, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and OTA winner Paula Dolloff.
(From l to r:) Harlandale STEM Early College High School principal Eddie Muzquiz Rodriguez, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, OTA winner Paula Dolloff, Humanities Texas communications officer Marissa Kessenich, school board president Carlos Quezada, and Harlandale ISD superintendent Rey Madrigal.