• 66°

Central Middle teacher Susan Ellis finalist for statewide Lifetime Achievement recognition

NEDERLAND — Eight Houston educators have been named finalists for the 2020 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, and Central Middle School teacher Susan Ellis is being spotlighted as one of the 30 best educators in Texas.

The seventh grade science teacher in the Nederland Independent School District was surprised with a $1,000 check for herself and a $1,000 check for her school during class Tuesday morning.

“I am so surprised,” she said. “I never would have dreamed in a million years that when I filled out the application, when my coworker nominated me, that I would win.”

Principal Natalie Gomez said the school is extremely proud of Ellis, adding she does amazing things in the classroom.

“Her students love coming to her class,” Gomez said. “They are excited about the activities and lessons she designs for them. She is excited about science. She has a passion for what she does and that comes through everyday.”

Susan Ellis is surrounded by her seventh grade science class Tuesday after being surprised with a $1,000 check.

Alongside teaching, Ellis also participates in innovative labs, helps run the campus’ STEM club and tutors after school.

“We are so excited for Ms. Ellis,” Gomez said. “She is well deserving of this achievement and this honor.”

Ellis joins a group of Houston educators from Aldine ISD, Katy, Houston, Pearland and more. She is the only finalist named from a Southeast Texas independent school district.

“I’m excited for me, and I’m excited for my school,” Ellis said. “I get money for the school, so that’s what I’m really excited for.”

The educator of over 26 years is competing in the Lifetime Achievement Category, alongside four other state finalists, which salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience.

Ellis has worked in schools across the state and taught at all grade levels, but always knew her true love was for science and the seventh grade.

“Since I was in seventh grade, I knew I wanted to be a seventh grade science teacher,” she said. “I know that sounds weird, but I have. In college, I started out in engineering but I knew my real passion was for teaching and teaching science.”

H-E-B’s Excellence in Education is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas, according to a press release. The program launched in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas.

Ellis will join 30 other finalists in San Antonio May 2-3 to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling $430,000.

An official winner will also be named at the banquet.

Representatives of H-E-B present Susan Ellis, a seventh grade teacher at Central Middle School, with a $1,000 check, cake and balloons for being named as a 2020 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award.