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Regional Teacher of the Year goes to MCISD

20140822 MCISD-3-Peat-Regional-Teacher-of-the-Year featureHumble beginnings have helped educator Jesus Razo, 38, strive for excellence. That excellence is now being recognized.

Region One Education Service Center has named Razo, a math teacher at Mission Jr. High School, as Regional Secondary Teacher of the year. It’s the third year in a row Region One has selected a teacher from Mission CISD. This is also the fourth time in five years a teacher has been selected from the district.

Ada Castillo, principal at Mission Jr. High, is honored to have Razo as an educator at her school.

“He’s so deserving of this recognition,” she said. “He has an amazing work ethic and devotion to his students. I’m glad others were able to notice his excellence.”

Razo, who was selcted in May as secondary teacher of the year for the district, said he is humbled and elated for the honors. “It feels surreal. I feel honored to be representing our region and district,” he said. “I feel blessed to be surrounded by other educators, who are just as passionate about what they do.”

This is Mr. Razo’s fourth year as a teacher at MCISD.

Principal Castillo said she has seen him go beyond the duties of being a teacher.

“He is very much involved in various ways with our students. He comes in at 7 a.m. and will stay here past 7 p.m.,” she said. “Him and other teachers stay late working, planning and tutoring.”

Razo is a TxBess mentor (Texas Beginning Educator Support System), curriculum writer, DEIC (District Wide Educational Improvement Council) campus representative and a UIL math coach.

His hard work ethic spawns from growing up in a migrant working family. He and his five siblings worked the fields from elementary school on through high school. His senior year of high school he stopped working in the fields and went to college.

“ My upbringing helped me appreciate many things,” he said. “It has allowed me to relate better to my students and to share my experiences with them.”

Before he became an educator, Razo worked as a banking administrator for six years. He yearned to make a difference and to find happiness in his work, so he transitioned to teaching.

David Land, a science teacher at Mission Jr. High, has seen Razo grow from a first year teacher to a seasoned one.

“He’s just a ball of positive energy. That has been a constant with him–his great vibe,” he said. “Even the children feed off of it when they come into his classroom.”

That positive vibe, Land said, translated to success for Razo in his first year of teaching. Razo’s class scored above the 90 percentile in math during standardized testing.

“It was quite an achievement for him,” said Land. “He didn’t let first year jitters phase him and had fantastic results. That just set the tone for him, and he’s grown into a wonderful teacher.”

Land said the students adore Razo. They make posters for him and he posts them on the walls for all to see. Razo takes that admiration and returns it to his students. He always tells them “the only way we are going to get better is if we focus on today.”

“None of us get good at what we do without help,” he said.

Land said Razo is not a boastful gentleman. On the contrary, he says, he can be self-deprecating at times.

“He doesn’t like to be in the spotlight too long,” he said. “He works hard and feels all teachers do the same to help their students.”

The spotlight has brought a light to Razo’s hard work. A husband and father of two, the real joy for Razo has been to share his award with his family.

“After the award ceremony, I went to my mother’s house. Everyone was waiting and proud of me,” he said. “That meant more to me than the award itself.”

In the future, Razo hopes to continue making an impact on his students. He said he always encourages them to be curious, not complacent and challenge themselves every day.

“I love what I do. I was influenced by my very own math teachers growing up,” he said. “If I can inspire a student in the same way, then I’m in a good place.”

Razo has now been entered to represent the region and the district in the state teacher of the year contest.

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