St. Joseph's School Educator Named the 2019 Diocesan Teacher of the Year

April 05, 2019

Erika Delgado, a 5th grade teacher at St. Joseph's School, was named 2019 Diocesan Teacher of the Year at the annual awards banquet on Thursday, April 4 at the El Paso Zoo. Chosen by her peers as the school's Teacher of the Year, she competed against 10 other teachers from across the Diocese of El Paso, the best of the best, for this year's Diocesan Teacher of the Year Award. When her name was called, the St. Joseph's table erupted in cheers and applause. 

Erika is the definition of what it is to be from this dynamic bicultural, bilingual community. She makes the daily commute from Juárez to teach at St. Joseph's School, a place she and her son call home. She accompanies her students, brings God into their conversations, and assures them that He is always with them. She believes it's her responsibility to plant the seed of social justice and continue the work of Jesus. Erika has created a God-centered, student-led classroom, coordinated countless community projects for the poor and the elderly on both sides of the border, and recognizes her responsibility as a role model. She is preparing students for the future through the use of technology and innovation and empowering them with the tools they need to be successful, critical thinkers. In and out of the classroom, she is always teaching and sharing her gifts willingly with students and colleagues, and inspired a student-driven multimedia project that received national recognition. Erika refers to herself not as a teacher, but as a Catholic teacher. 

Erika graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor's Degree in Bilingual Education in May, 2010. She took my exams and earned her certification EC-4 that same Summer. She immediately began working on her Master's Degree and completed studies as an Instructional Specialist for Bilingual Education in the Fall of 2012. Erika taught sixth grade for two years in Juárez at a private Catholic school and two years in Denver, Colorado. She credits her years there teaching at a public school, including teaching Spanish to students ages 2-12 as a period of enormous growth. Erika moved back to El Paso because this is her home and she wanted to be close to her family and friends.

When Principal Marcela Hernández shared the opportunity to enter the Take A Stand Against Bullying Video Contest sponsored by Oxy Skin Care, Delgado and her class immediately started to brainstorm. The students, ages 10 and 11, shared that it's always hard being the new kid in school or being the student that is excluded from activities and games. They created a huge poster with the words "It begins with me" to explain that any change that we want to see has to start first with ourselves and set about creating a one minute and thirty second video. It took 2 days to film and 1 day to edit. On February 5, a representative from Scholastic National Partnerships informed Erika that her students' video had been selected as a Grand Prize Winner of the Take A Stand Against Bullying Video Contest and shared, "The Scholastic and Oxy teams were so impressed with the caliber of work; your students should be very proud!"  

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Teacher of the Year winners: Adriana Lezama, St. Patrick Cathedral School; Adriana López, St. Matthew Catholic School; Aracely Zamora, Father Yermo Elementary School; Bertha Laird, Most Holy Trinity Catholic School; Deborah Montoya, Cathedral High School; Elizabeth Vega, St. Raphael Catholic School; Estela del Real, St. Pius X Catholic School; Felix Rasari, Father Yermo High School; Gabriela González, Loretto Academy Elementary School; and Theresa Crow, Loretto Academy Middle School.

We have highly qualified, extraordinary teachers in all of our Catholic schools and this community is so fortunate they are part of the diocesan team. There is simply nothing like a Catholic education and it’s the teachers who are the heart of Catholic schools. Erika Delgado will now compete for the State of Texas Catholic Teacher of the Year in the Fall of 2019. Support Catholic schools!

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