All-Star and EXCEL Awards

All-Star and EXCEL Awards


A NISD teacher and student were recently recognized by KENS5 and featured in separate news segments.

The EXCEL Award, sponsored in combination with Credit Human, has been given to a NISD teacher annually for more than 20 years. The All-Star Student award, sponsored by KENS 5 and UPS, is in its second year. Both awards are awarded to teachers and students throughout the year represented by all school districts in Bexar and surrounding counties.

NISD teacher named among best in San Antonio

Cindy Nieto-Ruiz, a first-grade teacher at Scarborough Elementary School, was named the 2021-2022 EXCEL Award winner for Northside ISD.

After graduating from Stevens High School, Nieto-Ruiz attended the University of Incarnate Word receiving a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in reading and Special Education. She student-taught at Scarborough Elementary School and was hired as a full-time teacher at that campus upon graduation. She also received a master’s degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies from UTSA in 2018.

Nieto-Ruiz is a first-generation college student, and the daughter of immigrants who came to the United States as teenagers.

“My mom and dad immigrated here from Mexico and were unable to pursue their education beyond eighth grade due to familial obligations and a lack of resources,” Nieto-Ruiz said. “The fact that they worked so hard, gave it their all, and always committed to ensure my siblings and I had the best education inspired me to take advantage of every opportunity.”

“I love learning and I have always loved to encourage others to love learning as well, because it’s a right not everyone has.”

The EXCEL Award is given to outstanding teachers in San Antonio and sponsored by KENS 5 TV and Credit Human. Representatives from these organizations presented Nieto-Ruiz with a silver apple and a $1,000 check at a virtual event.

To watch the KENS5 segment on this outstanding teacher, click here.


Taft student goes way beyond the game to help others

Thomas (T.J.) Andrews, a junior at Taft High School, is team captain of the Taft Raider Varsity Football team, a member of the PTSA, enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) and OnRamps courses, and on the debate team.

He is now also the recipient of the KENS 5/UPS All-Star Student award for 2021-2022.

As a member of the football team, Andrews is constantly motivating his teammates to perform and achieve personal and team goals. He participated in the NISD Student Servant Leadership Summit and led the discussion regarding mental health and athletics. He is also an avid mentor in youth football.

“T.J. acts as an amazing, protective big brother to students here at Taft, and many look up to him for guidance,” said Elaine Torres, College Career Military Readiness advisor.

To watch a feature story about this amazing student produced by KENS5, click here.