Eric Hale is not just a teacher. He is a leader, a mentor, a role model, and a trailblazer. He is the first Black man to win the prestigious Texas Teacher of the Year award, which has been recognizing outstanding educators in the state since 1969. He is also the first Black man to win the Region 10 Elementary Teacher of the Year award, which covers 80 school districts in north central Texas.
Hale teaches kindergarten and first grade at David G. Burnet Elementary School in Dallas, where 98% of his students are Hispanic and most are living at poverty level. Many are first-generation Americans who face challenges such as language barriers, food insecurity, and lack of technology. But Hale does not let these obstacles stop him from providing his students with a high-quality education that prepares them for success.
Hale has a unique and innovative style of teaching that incorporates music, rap, and technology to engage his students and make learning fun. He also fosters a culture of excellence and high expectations in his classroom, where he calls his students “scholars” and challenges them to achieve their full potential. He has achieved remarkable results with his students, who have scored an average of 95% passing on all exams in the last five years.
Hale’s passion for teaching stems from his own personal experience of overcoming childhood trauma and poverty. He knows what it is like to struggle and survive, and he uses his story to inspire his students and connect with them on an emotional level. He also supports his students beyond the classroom, by texting with their parents, raising funds for school supplies and laptops, and creating YouTube lessons during the summer.
Hale is not only a teacher, but also an advocate for his students and his community. He is involved in several initiatives that aim to empower young people of color and promote diversity and inclusion in education. He is the founder of “Be Your Own Hero”, a mentoring program that pairs successful Black men with at-risk boys. He is also a member of “Black Men Teach”, a network that recruits and retains Black male teachers in elementary schools.
Hale’s achievements have been recognized by many organizations and media outlets, such as the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Dallas Independent School District, BET, The Sun, and TODAY. He has also received numerous awards and honors, such as the 2019-2020 Dallas ISD Teacher of the Year, the 2019-2020 Momentous Institute Teacher of the Year, and the 2018-2019 Teach for America DFW Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Hale is a shining example of what a teacher can do to make a difference in the lives of his students and his community. He is a leader who inspires others to follow his footsteps and pursue their dreams. He is a trailblazer who makes history and breaks barriers. He is a teacher who deserves to be celebrated.
Another inspiring story of an amazing teacher is Nadirah Muhammad. She is not just a teacher, she is a hero. She donated one of her kidneys to save the life of her 18-year-old student, A’Ja Booth, who had been suffering from kidney failure since she was 10 years old.
A’Ja Booth was a dance student at West Side Academy, an alternative high school in Detroit, where Nadirah Muhammad taught physical education and health. One day, Muhammad noticed a book that A’Ja had written, titled “My Dialysis Journey”, where she described her painful and exhausting experience of undergoing dialysis for four hours, three times a week.
Muhammad was moved by A’Ja’s story and decided to get tested as a potential donor. To their surprise, they were a perfect match. Muhammad did not hesitate to offer her kidney to A’Ja, who had been waiting for a transplant for eight years. Keep reading Nadirah’s story here.
We have amazing and true teachers like Hale and Nadriah that needs to celebrated every day.