Ramon Benavides, a biology teacher from Ysleta ISD in El Paso, will represent Texas in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Ramon Benavides, a doctoral student in Texas Tech University's College of Education, was named the 2022 Texas Teacher of the Year and will go on to represent Texas in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Benavides is a biology teacher at Del Valle High School in Ysleta Independent School District (ISD). He was nominated for the state award after being honored as the 2021-2022 Ysleta ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year and the 2022 Region 19 Secondary Teacher of the Year. He is currently working toward his doctorate in educational leadership policy at Texas Tech.
“This would not have been possible without the mentorship and guidance from the outstanding faculty at Texas Tech University,” Benavides said. “Three years ago, my wife and I took a leap of faith and began our Ph.D. journeys at Texas Tech. The support we have received has made an impact in our lives, and it was evident today. We are truly grateful.”
Benavides was inspired to become a teacher by his parents, who dropped out of school to work as migrant farmworkers before returning to the classroom to become teachers in the Rio Grande Valley. Benavides says he enjoys serving as a role model for youth with socioeconomic and educational attainment obstacles similar to those he encountered growing up in South Texas.
“Ramon's dedication and service to his students, school, district and state is remarkable,” said Alexander Wiseman, a professor of educational leadership in the College of Education. “Even more remarkable is his passion for serving the broader community of students who have experienced obstacles to their education, who may have experienced discrimination in school and who needed to experience the care, expertise and commitment of a scholar-practitioner like him. Ramon is one of a kind. We are so proud that he is part of the founding cohort of the Educational Leadership Policy doctoral program.”
Benavides also is a graduate of the Texas Education Policy Fellowship Program, which is coordinated by the College of Education. His policy research in the program focused on improving learning opportunities for socioeconomically disadvantaged students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Benavides holds multiple degrees, including a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Brownsville and a master's degree in teaching science from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Benavides is a part of several state and national professional organizations. He has been featured in two publications and has participated in several research internships with Rice University and UTEP. He also is a national STEM advocate for the Society for Science and the Public.
The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in education since 1969. The annual award, given by Texas Association of School Administrators since 2011, recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.
The 2022 National Teacher of the Year will be selected in the spring by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The chosen educator will spend a year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students. Each year since 1952, the National Teacher of the Year has been recognized by the White House in the spring. In 2020, College of Education graduate student Linda Rost was named one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award.