To recognize the outstanding teachers at HCISD, the Communications Department will begin a Teacher of the Week section in HCISD’s Valley Morning Star page and district website. Each Monday, a new teacher from our campuses will be showcased. Each of our 28 schools will be showcased. Austin Elementary School kicks-off TOW with our first selection this year!
For almost 40 years, Maria Lydia Hernandez has started and finished her day with the success of students in mind.
Hernandez is a second grade bilingual teacher at Austin Elementary School, and during her years on campus, she has learned what she truly loves about teaching is seeing the students thrive.
“What I love about teaching is that I get to see current and former students succeed,” said Hernandez. “I’ve seen some amazing students grow up, and now, I’m even teaching the grandchildren of some my former students.”
Along with seeing her students grow into adulthood, she’s also seen her classroom change quite a bit. What was once pencil and paper, is now iPads and digital devices that comprise her digital classroom.
“It’s a great experience to be a part of our digital classrooms,” said Hernandez. “It’s amazing how much our district is offering our students and exposing them to a college experience.”
For Hernandez, the path to teaching was an easy one. She attributes her mother for encouraging her to pursue a career in education, she said. Since then, she’s never had a second guess to which path would suit her best.
Since starting her career in education in 1979, she’s taught second, third and fourth with a total of 34 of those years being at HCISD. Spending much of her time at the Austin campus, she’s learned that the teachers and students at the school are much like an extended family.
“ I have three families,” said Hernandez. “My immediate family, church family and my school family.”
Thoughts of retirement haven’t come up for Hernandez as each year she is reminded that students are her number one focus, she said.
“When we go to our district kick-off, I get excited,” said Hernandez. “I can’t think of retiring because I love what I do, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.”
When not teaching the students at Austin Elementary, she’s sharing knowledge with children at Immaculate Heart Church. Much like her time in public education, she’s spent almost 40 years dedicating her time for the benefit of others at her church.
She’s also spends much of her spare time with her grandchildren and dancing, whenever and wherever possible, with her husband.