6 Finalists Named for 2024 Texas Teacher of the Year

Six outstanding Texas teachers have been recognized as finalists for the Texas Association of School Administrators’ 2024 Texas Teacher of the Year award. 

Congratulations are in order for the three elementary and three secondary finalists: 

  • Dr. Isela Russell, Lewisville ISD
  • Taniece Thompson-Smith, Abilene ISD
  • Genesis Yougas, McKinney ISD
  • Naveen Cunha, Bryan ISD
  • Schrundagale Griffith, Longview ISD
  • Dr. Cynthia Hopkins, Corpus Christi ISD

We are especially proud of Dr. Cynthia Hopkins, an active member of the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers. 

Hopkins has taught science at Harold C. Kaffie Middle School in Corpus Christi ISD since 2007. She sponsors the school’s robotics, coding, drone, engineering, science fair, and STEM honor clubs. Hopkins also chairs her district advisory team, serves as a mentor teacher for new teachers, and has hosted nine clinical teachers. 

“Students are not a blank slate for me to fill with science and robotics knowledge,” she says. “They investigated the world around them for 12 years before stepping into my classroom. I want to honor that knowledge while providing opportunities for students to attach new experiences to their prior knowledge.” 

Hopkins, who serves as an instructor for the Region 2 Educational Service Center and as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC), is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Science. 

Whichever of these deserving finalists is named Texas Teacher of the Year, we hope they follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Han, the 2022 Texas Teacher of the Year and a McAllen AFT member. 

Han used her platform to advocate for her students, her colleagues, and her profession. May we all do the same.