Botwc Firsts

Eric Hale Makes History As The First Black Man To Be Named Texas Teacher of the Year

Eric Hale Makes History As The First Black Man To Be Named Texas Teacher of the Year

A fitting honor!

Elementary school teacher Eric Hale just made history as the first Black man named Texas Teacher of the Year, NBCDFW reports.

Hale is a first-grade teacher with Dallas ISD at David G. Burnet Elementary School. Hale has received numerous awards for his outstanding track record in the classroom, even being featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show back in February. NBC 5 previously reported on Hale's unique teaching style, utilizing his gifts as a DJ to make learning fun, and raking up an astounding 95% passing rate for exam testing in his class over the last five years. 

"We use a lot of music in my classroom...It started off with me just playing music; then I said 'man, it would be great if I could DJ,' then I taught myself how to DJ two summers ago," Hale said at the time. "Now I have an in-home studio where I create songs that are named after my students...If I can keep my kids energized and keep them engaged, I can teach them how to do anything." 

Now Hale has made history as the first Black man to be named Texas Teacher of the Year. Hale was one of six finalists for the award, completing their final round of interviews in mid-September. The program has honored teachers setting high standards for excellence since 1969. The announcement came during a virtual meeting between the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Boards Convention, with Hale visibly excited. 

In a post shared with social media, Burnet Principal Sonia Loskot congratulated him, letting him know how proud the entire school was and sharing that more than 80 parents learned the news simultaneously during a parent meeting and began shouting for him.  

"To all those people out there that are looking to make a difference, that are thinking about going into education...you can do it," Hale said in the video. "I also want to shout out children who are living in trauma, in poverty...if you work hard, you can accomplish any goal. I'm a believer [and] that is the reason why I'm here."

The award-winning teacher went on to thank everybody who helped him along the way, saying, "together as a family we made history. I thank you guys so much. Anybody who's ever did anything kind for me...from the cafeteria lady all the way up to the superintendent, thank you." 

As the 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year, Hale will represent the entire state in the National Teacher of the Year program that will take place during the spring.

Congratulations, Mr. Hale!

Photo Courtesy of NBCDFW