OIS’ Araceli Salinas Honored as HAABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year

TOMBALL - Tomball ISD and Oakcrest Intermediate teacher Araceli Salinas was recently honored as the Houston Area Association for Bilingual Education (HAABE) Bilingual Teacher of the Year. 

Salinas has been teaching since 2013 and has dedicated her efforts to serving students through bilingual education. She was the first-ever Tomball ISD recipient to receive this award in the history of HAABE.

“​Being named HAABE's Bilingual Teacher of the Year means that I am blessed with an opportunity that provides a platform in which I can continue to be an advocate for bilingualism and biculturalism within our district and beyond,” said Salinas. “This prestigious honor was given to me by an organization whose vision and purpose are to demonstrate unity and cohesiveness in the promotion of bilingual education, serve and support the education of linguistically and culturally diverse students, and support the development and influence of positive public opinion of bilingual education...every single vision and purpose that I am passionate about.”

Principal Sara Rush on Araceli Salinas:
“I am so proud Mrs. Salinas was named HAABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year because I know what an impact she has on her students and the bilingual program.  Mrs. Salinas has such a genuine passion for teaching and you feel it the moment you step foot in her classroom.  She empowers her students to be the best version of themselves.  I am filled with so much joy when I go into her room and see the learning that is taking place.  She is a true advocate for bilingual students, bilingual teachers, and for Tomball ISD.”

Salinas joined Tomball ISD Elementary ESL Teacher of the Year Cori Coombs (Timber Creek Elementary) and Secondary ESL Teacher of the Year Rocio Rincon (Tomball Intermediate) at the annual HAABE Teacher of the Year Banquet, all representing TISD.

By earning this honor, Salinas will have opportunities to collaborate and continue her advocacy efforts with colleagues across the area. 

“To know that I will be given the opportunity to showcase the 21st century learning approaches we use at Tomball ISD with other Houston area educators means the world to me...as it affords the opportunity to emergent bilingual students all over our city to receive innovative educational opportunities,” she said.

Araceli Salinas when asked, “Why education? What makes your job so special?”:
“I joined Bilingual Education because my teachers and my education had the most impact in molding me into who I am; I hope to do the same for my students. I hope that I can help my students see in themselves what took me so long to see in myself…the amazing people that they were, are, and will be. I once sat where my students sit today, and I have felt what they feel. I have felt marginalized. I have felt frustrated because of a language barrier. I have felt inadequate. I know what it is like to know that the only secure meals I had came from school. I know what it is like to have my electricity and water disconnected because my mom could not make ends meet. I know what it is like to have to take care of my siblings while barely being able to care for myself. I know what it is like to grow up in a one-parent household. I know what it is like to feel helpless.”

“However, I also know that with perseverance and willpower…no matter who you are, where you come from, or what cards you were dealt…you can overcome absolutely any challenge life gives you. My teachers believed in me and had the same high-expectations of me that they had of everyone else. As an educator, I now know of the tireless efforts that they invested in me - a single, struggling, emergent bilingual student. They made me feel that I mattered and I belonged - even when no one else did. I have learned that all of the hardships that I faced were to make me resilient and to place me where I am at this very moment…in my classroom with my students  making a difference daily in their lives the way my teachers did for me.”

Araceli Salinas when asked, “Why Tomball ISD?”
“Joining Tomball ISD transformed my life. I learned what working side-by-side truly means. I learned that your co-workers turn into family. I am embraced by a culture of positivity and encouragement. We ALL share the same philosophy of education...putting kids at the forefront of absolutely everything we do. We go above so that our students can go beyond. Our district constantly motivates and encourages all teachers to be lifelong learners and gives us opportunities to grow as educators and become leaders. I believe that an individual can only be as successful as the people who stand beside them - and I have the most amazing people who encourage, motivate, and inspire me to be the best that I can be at Tomball ISD.”

Tomball ISD educates students to become responsible, productive citizens by providing innovative, individually rigorous, and personally valuable educational experiences. Founded in 1908, Tomball ISD now encompasses 83 square miles in northwest Harris County and southwest Montgomery County, and is located approximately 30 miles from downtown Houston. The district currently educates over 20,500 students at 22 campuses.