We are pleased to showcase two more 2019 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award recipients and their recent award presentations. In the new year, Humanities Texas staff and board members will continue to travel across the state to celebrate our Outstanding Teaching Award winners alongside their students, colleagues, and elected officials. Each award winner receives $5,000, with an additional $500 for their school to support further excellence in the instruction of the humanities. Read below to learn about the teachers we lauded most recently.

Jessica Flatt, Zotz Education Center, Houston

State Representative Ana Hernandez and Humanities Texas Grants Program Officer Allison Dillon presented Jessica Flatt with a 2019 Award for Outstanding Early-Career Teaching during a ceremony at Zotz Education Center in Houston on December 17.

Flatt, a recent graduate of Texas A&M University with an MEd in curriculum and instruction, is in her third year of teaching all levels of high school U.S. history, government, world history, world geography, and economics at Zotz Education Center.

"My goal is to see that my students can be successful in my classroom, to make the material relevant to their present life, and to develop an appreciation for social studies," stated Flatt. "Even more important is the personal growth I have seen in students. I have noticed that many students come to me stating 'I never thought I could do it' as they tell me about how they connected class learning to something they saw or read outside of school."

Since 2017, Flatt has served as the social studies department chair. In this position, she supports social studies teachers by helping them update their curriculum and ensuring that they have the necessary resources in their classroom.

"She is the kind of individual who strives to instill in her students a confidence in their abilities, respect for themselves and others, and the motivation to give one hundred percent of their effort to any situation they find themselves in," said Marcus Morrow, principal at Zotz Education Center.

Aurora González de Freire, Tice Elementary School, Houston

On December 17, State Representative Ana Hernandez and Humanities Texas Grants Program Officer Allison Dillon presented Aurora González de Freire with the 2019 Julius Glickman Educational Leadership Award during a ceremony at Tice Elementary School in Houston.

Freire, whose career spans twenty-one years, has spent the past six years teaching bilingual education and English language arts at Tice Elementary School.

"Students know that our classroom is a safe zone," said Freire. "They are encouraged to take risks and be reflective, critical thinkers. Most importantly, they know that manners are required, respect is given, and negative behaviors are not an acceptable representation of a Team Freire member."

In addition to her teaching, Freire is also a published author. After Hurricane Harvey devastated many Houston communities, she wrote a bilingual children's book to help her students heal after the storms.

"In all that she does, Mrs. Freire believes in striving for excellence and learning along the way," stated Steve Gonzales, assistant principal at Tice Elementary. "She is a teacher of students' hearts and minds, and she values the time she gets to spend learning alongside them."






State Representative Ana Hernandez (left) and OTA winner Jessica Flatt (right).







(From l to r:) Humanities Texas board member Stephanie Tucker, Humanities Texas Grants Program Officer Allison Dillon, State Representative Ana Hernandez, Tice Elementary School Principal Toshia Gouard, and OTA winner Aurora González de Freire.