Blackland Prairie teacher named H-E-B Excellence in Education finalist

Blackland Prairie Elementary School Dyslexia and Interventions teacher Denise Johnson has been named a finalist for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Elementary Leadership Award.

H-E-B selected Johnson as one of five finalists in Texas for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Elementary Leadership Award, which honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom.

H-E-B Excellence in Education is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas. The honor was kept a secret from Johnson when H-E-B representatives, Round Rock ISD leaders and Blackland Prairie staff surprised her with a $1,000 check for herself and a $1,000 grant for her school.

“Denise Johnson is a strong advocate for our students and is well deserving of this outstanding recognition,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores said. “In her 21 years in education, she has showcased a passion for serving struggling readers and writers and has empowered them with strategies to be successful. We are proud and honored for H-E-B to recognize the great work that Denise brings to Blackland Prairie every day.”

Johnson was a second grade teacher before Blackland Prairie Principal Sue Hildebrand recommended she apply for an open interventionist position.

“I need somebody who is dedicated to the success of our students,” Hildebrand said. “I knew she would never back off and it’s been phenomenal to watch her with the students and to watch their growth.”

Johnson struggled with reading herself until her third grade teacher Ms. Smith encouraged her to believe in herself. “I know the feeling of not knowing how to read words other kids can read,” Johnson said. “I can relate to them because I was that student at one time and it helps me teach my kids.”

H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards finalists will gather in Austin on May 7 to announce the winners.
Photos from the celebration.