Each year, Humanities Texas presents statewide awards to recognize Texas classroom teachers who have made exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development, and extracurricular programming. We are pleased to feature our final two 2023 Outstanding Teaching Award recipients and their award presentations. Each award winner received $5,000, with an additional $1,000 for their schools to support further excellence in the instruction of the humanities.

Read more about these amazing Texas teachers, and stay tuned for the announcement of our 2024 Outstanding Teaching Award winners!

Taylor Kratz, Mayde Creek High School, Katy

On March 27, 2024, U.S. Congressman Morgan Luttrell and Humanities Texas Executive Director Eric Lupfer presented Taylor Kratz with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award during a presentation at Mayde Creek High School in Katy.

Kratz, who is in her seventh year in the classroom, teaches on-level, AP, and ESL sections of U.S. history. She finds great passion in making the social studies classroom more accessible to emergent bilingual students and seeks out professional opportunities to share her findings.

"By making my classroom accessible to all levels of learners, it creates an environment where students want to learn and are engaged in the lessons because they know they are in a safe environment to learn and make mistakes," said Taylor Kratz. "I am truly honored every day to be able to teach U.S. history to this demographic of students."

"Taylor creates inspiring and engaging lessons that reach the needs of all her learners, from starting class with a joke or celebration of a silly holiday to varying lesson delivery in strategies that build historical thinking and literacy to impressive technology integration," said Celaina Huckeba, instructional coach at Mayde Creek High School. "She is constantly looking for new ways to help her students be successful as high school students and as learners of the humanities."

Coralei Rodriguez, Spring High School, Spring

Coralei Rodriguez, who taught Spanish at Spring High School for ten years, was awarded an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. Currently, Rodriguez is celebrating her thirtieth year in the classroom, now teaching Spanish language and culture at Alturas Preparatory Academy in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

In three decades of service to Houston-area students, Rodriguez relied on the power of literature to help students connect to the subject matter and learn more about cultures around the world.

"I continued to make literary works accessible to students and designed activities that promoted their ability to comprehend, compare, and apply what they learned from these authentic texts into their own lives," said Rodriguez. "I have had students develop a love for literature and poetry because of their experiences in class."

"Ms. Rodriguez is a pioneer in our district for many of the strategies and philosophies she has adopted in her department," said Diana Fernández-Sullivan, world languages manager for Spring ISD. "Ms. Rodriguez is the type of educator who is always striving for more for her students. It is a pleasure to spend time in her classroom; students care for her, and the environment is so inviting and joyful but always quite rigorous."





(From l to r:) Humanities Texas Executive Director Eric Lupfer, 2023 OTA winner Taylor Kratz, Mayde Creek High School Assistant Principal Lauren Garner, and U.S. Congressman Morgan Luttrell during Kratz's award presentation.

2023 OTA winner Coralei Rodriguez with students in her classroom.