Two Texas AFT members in the ranks of Teacher of the Year finalists

Jennifer Han celebrates with co-workers at Juan Seguin Elementary School in McAllen.

Two Texas AFT members have been named finalists for Texas Teacher of the year. Jennifer Han of McAllen AFT is a finalist in the Elementary Teacher category, and Dr. Sanford Jeames of Education Austin is a finalist for Secondary Teachers.

The annual event, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), will culminate with a final pick in each category at an October 15 awards ceremony in Austin.

More on these finalists

Jennifer Han offers bilingual and gifted and talented education in all subjects to fourth graders at Juan Seguin Elementary School in McAllen. She has led initiatives for community empowerment and involvement through the district’s Community Youth Development program, recognizing parents and students who have been named as outstanding parents and youth by the U.S. Department of Family Protective Services. 

As grade level chair of her school’s Minitropolis Program, she has led in the creation of a post office, a store front, a bank and a photography shop. In this unique program that infuses business into the educational setting, students learn real life leadership, career and finance skills. She advocates for STEAM integration, emotional intelligence and flipped classrooms to equip students for life’s rapidly changing demands.

Jennifer Han

Her robotics team integrated Science, Engineering, Math and Technology and has shown “gracious coopertition” (cooperative competition) in and outside of the playing field, earning distinctions such as “Innovative Projects” and “Most Inspiring Team” for demonstrating great sportsmanship in the regional competition of the First Lego League.

Han has been a major and consistent contributor to district curriculum writing, presenting at numerous technology-based conferences that have drawn educators from across the state. She holds bilingual generalist and Spanish certifications and a bachelor of science in education from the University of Texas at Austin with honors, magna cum laude.

Sanford Jeames

Sanford Jeames is currently serving as the coordinator of health science programs at Eastside Memorial Early College High School in Austin. He is also an adjunct professor at Huston-Tillotson University. He provides instruction to students in grades 9-12, teaching Principles of Health Sciences, Health Sciences Theory, Medical Terminology and Health Practicum courses. He earned a bachelor of science in history with a minor in journalism from Livingston University, Livingston, Alabama, and received a master of arts in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Jeames was awarded a doctorate of healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix and has completed additional courses in secondary education from St. Edward’s University in Austin. In addition to his instructional duties, Jeames has served as campus facilitator for SEL practices, and is campus advisor for Student Council, Austin Youth Council, and Student Equity Council. During his tenure, students have gained certifications as nursing assistants, medical assistants and medical administrative assistants. Partnerships with Austin Community College have resulted in students earning certificates as pharmacy technicians, emergency medical technicians and phlebotomists. Jeames coordinated paid internship positions for high school students through Austin Public Health.

He is the current chair of the American Society Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Health Equity Outcomes Committee (2021-2022), and has memberships in the Society of Urological Surgical Associates (SUNA), American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), and the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO).