Showing Us What Brave Looks Like

Portraits of Charles Butt Scholars appears against a backdrop with the word Q&A on it

In a brand new job under unthinkable circumstances. New surprises every week. Trying to support students in ways they never expected. And yet they say they “would not want to be in any other profession.” Ten Charles Butt Scholar alumni, now first and second-year teachers, share their struggles, victories, and learnings a few months into the 2020-21 school year. These new Texas teachers find inspiration in their profession, and in the process, inspire us.

Clarissa Rodriguez

1st Grade Teacher | Treasure Hills Elementary | Harlingen CISD

“I understand that for my students, I need to be their strongest support system. I know I need to become the teacher I always needed growing up.”

Jimena Gamboa

4th Grade Teacher | John F. Kennedy Elementary | Edinburg CISD

“Texans should know that expectations for teachers have not been lowered despite working during a pandemic.”

Cayley Guess

4th Grade Self-Contained Teacher | Roscoe Wilson Elementary | Lubbock ISD

“Texas teachers are doing the very best they can to make sure that our students feel connected, cared for, and learn.”

Lilia Hernandez

1st Grade Self-Contained Teacher |  Sivells Elementary | Wharton ISD

“I go over and beyond daily. I send home games, I get ready for them to reinforce skills, I celebrate daily with them, I encourage them, and the list continues.”

Theresa Garza

1st-5th Grade Self-Contained Teacher | Crawford Elementary | Edinburg CISD

“If I can connect with ONE student a day, it makes my life feel whole.”

Raquel Pérez

4th Grade Dual Language Teacher | Sanchez Elementary | McAllen ISD

“Even though situations are different throughout Texas, one thing is definitely similar. Teachers are persevering through this pandemic.”

“Aunque las situaciones son diferentes en todo Texas, una cosa es definitivamente similar. Los maestros están preservando a través de esta pandemia.”

Christen Smajstrla

History Teacher | Heights High School | Houston ISD

“The way that so many teachers have stepped up for our students is honestly amazing. I would not want to be in any other profession.”

Michelle Henderson

1st Grade Self-Contained Teacher | Alderson Elementary | Lubbock ISD

“Nothing can replace the joy of seeing your students succeed.”

Christine Oakes

PK-5th Elementary Music | Ridgemont Early Literacy Center | Fort Bend ISD

“My education has taught me to think outside the box and be a problem solver.”

Jacqueline Ojeda

10th Grade English/Language Arts | Southwest High School | Southwest ISD

“I love the effort I see in my students.”