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College of Ed Celebrates Mentor, Novice Teachers

Last Updated on December 05, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Originally published December 05, 2017

By University Communications

UTEP Communications

UTEP’s College of Education recently honored two area teachers for their outstanding service during the annual TFCU Mentor and Novice Teacher Awards ceremony at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Susana Guereque, left, and Candace Printz
Susana Guereque, left, and Candace Printz

UTEP alumni Candace Printz, art teacher at El Dorado High School, and Susana Guereque, an eighth-grade math teacher at SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School, were recognized during a dinner Nov. 15, 2017, in the Geology Reading Room in the Geological Sciences Building. Both campuses are part of the Socorro Independent School District. The winners received $2,500 and $1,000, respectively, and a plaque.

Among the attendees were teachers and administrators from area school districts; students, faculty and staff from UTEP’s College of Education; representatives from TFCU (Teachers Federal Credit Union), the nominees and their families.

The essence of these awards is to recognize the professional support, innovation and leadership offered by UTEP graduates who teach in area schools, said William Robertson, Ph.D., interim dean of UTEP’s College of Education.

“The importance of forging positive relationships between novice and experienced teachers in schools is essential,” Robertson said. “These awards emphasize the necessary leadership and guidance required to help retain teachers in the profession.”

Printz earned the Mentor Teacher Award, which recognizes a veteran teacher who offers professional support and mentoring. She graduated from UTEP in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in art education and has been a teacher for 13 years.

The art teacher said she was appreciative of her UTEP instructors and the college’s pre-service teacher program, which allowed her to observe and work with skilled, professional teachers.

“I was able to witness how to behave and what to anticipate in the education field,” Printz said. “(My student teaching) gave me the experience and confidence I needed to begin my career as an educator. I am grateful for the culture the University provided for me when I was just starting out.”

The other finalist in the Mentor category was Amber Romero from LeBarron Park Elementary School.

Judges selected Guereque as the Schwartz Novice Teacher Award recipient. Novice teachers have up to three years experience and are recognized for their professionalism with a focus on innovation and overall excellence.

Guereque graduated from UTEP in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. The 2017-18 academic year is her second year of teaching. She said the greatest lesson she learned as a Miner was that anything is possible through perseverance. She said that is the message she stresses to her students.

She saved her highest praise for Robertson, who was her professor for several courses.

“(Robertson) really made me understand that the key to successful teaching is finding your own craft and making things your own because no one teacher or student is the same,” she said.

The other finalists in this category were Viviana Gonzalez from Bel Air High School, and Rosanna Vargas from LeBarron Park Elementary School.

Nominations were submitted to UTEP’s College of Education and were evaluated by a college faculty committee. The endowment fund for the award was created in 1998.