Stonewall Flanders principal named finalist for H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards

Stonewall Flanders principal named finalist for H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards

Everyone at Stonewall Flanders Elementary knows it is hard to keep a secret from Principal Dr. Traci Smith. However, this time it worked.

When Dr. Smith was called into the cafeteria for an “emergency,” she arrived almost immediately and opened the door.

As her students yelled out “Surprise!” she received the news that she had been selected as a finalist in the 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. With tears in her eyes, she was quickly overwhelmed with excitement.

“I was shocked beyond belief,” Dr. Smith said. “Everything clicked, and my emotions were all over the place.  My knees shook for about 15 minutes. I'm a very hard person to surprise, but they got me.”

A group of H-E-B representatives carrying balloons, flowers and a cake congratulated Dr. Smith and presented her a $1,000 check for herself and a $2,500 check for the school.

“I am honored to have been selected as a finalist,” Dr. Smith added. “I know it sounds cliché, but the students motivate me. I come to work every day for them. They are our future, and I am invested in them.”

Dr. Smith joined Harlandale ISD last school year, and in that short amount of time, has already achieved great changes at her campus. She thanks her staff, leadership team and community for welcoming her with open arms and motivating her to continue to do better for the children.

“My ultimate goal is for my students to have confidence in themselves and to achieve their ultimate potential,” Dr. Smith said. “I don’t want them to see limitations or obstacles, only challenges that can be met.”

As a finalist, Dr. Smith will be invited to Austin on May 4-5 to compete on a statewide level for the chance to win $10,000 for herself and $25,000 for the school.

“It is very validating to know that 23 years as an administrator has prepared me this well, and I am excited to continue to serve the students and community of Harlandale ISD,” Dr. Smith concluded.

Congratulations and good luck, Dr. Smith!


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