Glenoaks fourth grade teacher among best in San Antonio

Rosio Martinez-Apolinar, a fourth grade teacher at Glenoaks Elementary School, was told by her principal, Maria Elena Meza, to bring her students to the gym for an all-school goal-setting assembly Tuesday morning.  She had no idea it was all a ruse.

As the student body was anxiously awaiting the start of the assembly, Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods walked into the gym to address the crowd about what they thought were some thoughts about the importance of goal-setting. After a few comments, Dr. Woods stopped what he was saying and introduced News Anchor Deborah Knapp.  Knapp explained the real reason for the assembly -- the announcement that Apolinar is the 2017-18 ExCEL Award winner for NISD.

“I feel very humbled,” she said as all students applauded the announcement. “I do it for all the students.”

The ExCEL Award is given to outstanding teachers in San Antonio by KENS5TV and Human Credit representatives, who joined the assembly and presented Apolinar with a silver apple and a $1,000 check.

Apolinar is in her 11th year in teaching, nine of those in NISD.

She said that the road to her teaching career was not an easy one. In high school, she was a “C’ student who constantly got in trouble, was bored and lacked motivation. She enjoyed sports and concentrated her energies on playing softball with hopes of playing at the college level. Her dreams were derailed when she became a teen mother.

With the help of family who believed in her and supported her, she turned her challenges and struggles into a determination to better herself and motivate others.

“My path to becoming an educator has tremendously impacted my teaching career and how I view public education,” she said. “Children need someone who believes that they can succeed even though they may face challenges, struggles, and failure.”

The story will air on KENS this Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. and again on Great Day SA on Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. Click here to see pictures from the surprise announcement.