Area high school teacher’s Region 5 honor highlights local impact

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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The Texas Association of School Administrators announced this week that six outstanding educators from across the state have been chosen as finalists in the 2024 Texas Teacher of the Year program.

Although none of the final six are currently teaching locally, there was tremendous Southeast Texas representation that deserves recognition.

The Region 5 Secondary teacher of the year is Jeffrey “Daniel” Auchenbach of Bridge City High School.

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He is currently in his ninth year in education and has a bachelors in chemical engineering and a masters in educational technology.

He teaches AP classes and numerous engineering courses.

He is also a Bridge City High Teacher of the Year award winner.

When his Region 5 honor was announced last school year, the school district thanked Auchenbach for coming back to education “after a few years hiatus and we are certainly thrilled that his engineering/physics/computer science knowledge is on campus again.”

Auchenbach is a Bridge City High Class of 2005 graduate.

The finalists for Texas Elementary Teacher are:

Dr. Isela Russell, Wellington Elementary School, Lewisville ISD

Taniece Thompson-Smith, Stafford Elementary School, Abilene ISD

Genesis Yougas, Lawson Early Childhood School, McKinney ISD

The finalists for Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year are:

Naveen Cunha, Stephen F. Austin Middle School, Bryan ISD

Schrundagale Griffith, Foster Middle School, Longview ISD

Dr. Cynthia Hopkins, Harold C. Kaffie Middle School, Corpus Christi ISD

Another educator recognized locally is Cheryl Spangler of Dishman Elementary School in Beaumont for Region 5 Elementary Teacher of the Year.