The Frank R. Kemerer Award Recipient: Elisa Murillo

TASSP and ED311 are proud to present this year’s Frank R. Kemerer award to Elisa Murillo of Highlands High School in San Antonio.

The Frank R. Kemerer award recognizes an outstanding high school social studies teacher in Texas, and it is named for Dr. Frank Kemerer, a longtime professor in the Education Department at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Kemerer’s teaching and writing consistently displayed a level of scholarship and professionalism that set a high standard for his students, many of whom now serve as teachers or administrators in Texas public schools.

Ms. Murillo has been a classroom educator for 14 years, teaching in El Paso and San Antonio.  The core of her teaching philosophy is that all students want to be seen, heard, and valued.  On being a Texas teacher in 2020, Ms. Murillo says: “The best thing about being a Texas teacher in 2020 is knowing that you have made a difference in the life of another person. Our classrooms have become so much more than the furniture and equipment supplied. They become a garden of hope, growth, enrichment, and I get to see each student bloom into a bright and beautiful flower. I have the opportunity to care and nurture my students as they transition into adulthood. This is done by acknowledging my students needs and empowering them with the tools to experience growth and success. This is one of the best things but also one of the most challenging things to accomplish. It requires creativity, communication, compassion and love for your craft as an educator.”

Miriam Aguilar, Associate Principal at Highlands High School, speaks highly of Ms. Murillo: “Ms. Murillo is the essence of a passionate educator…at the root of good teaching, there must be passion…I could see Ms. Murillo’s love of teaching and the love for her students…students made it a point to be extra early to her class…[f]or many, this was the best time of the day.”

Tracy Guadarrama, a teacher at Highlands High School, states: “She is the type of teacher our students need because she is genuine, hard-working, and will not give up on her students.  For many of our students, the only consistent adults in their lives are their teachers, and Ms. Murillo is a wonderful role model who pushes her students but is always willing to listen and work with the students as they come.  Ms. Murillo has a great rapport with her students and is a great example for other teachers to strive to achieve with their students.”

We are proud to bestow this year’s award upon such a deserving and special educator.  Congratulations to Elisa Murillo!  And to the Highlands High School team—they are very lucky to have her!

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