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Upland Heights Elementary Teacher Selected as the Region 17 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Last spring, Tara Espindola was chosen by her peers to represent Upland Heights as Teacher of the Year. She then competed against the other Frenship Teachers of the Year to be named the District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Espindola earned the district title at the Staff Appreciation Banquet in May.  

She then entered the running for the Region 17 Elementary Teacher of the Year, which she then earned. A region 17 representative attended the Frenship Convocation to announce Espindola's award.  

Espindola was filled with shock at the surprise announcement. She was told that she and her principal, Denise Stewart, would be participating in a game at Convocation, which was a guise to get her on stage to announce that she had been named the Region 17 Elementary Teacher of the Year. 

“When we were called to the stage, and [Stewart] didn't come up with me, I was confused...but then when Tiffany shared the news, I was in complete shock,” said Espindola. “It was such an honor and encouragement to have the whole district there with me in that moment. I could feel the love!” 

Espindola will now move on to represent Region 17 at the state level. “I am proud to represent my team, campus, district, and this region,” said Espindola. “I have had many fellow educators and administrators who have inspired me and walked beside me as I've learned to become a teacher, and I am proud to represent them. It is a once-in-a-lifetime honor to have been chosen.”  

Growing up with several family members working in education, Espindola was used to hearing about the ‘teacher life,’ but it wasn’t until a volunteer experience in South Africa that she truly understood the calling.  

“I remember helping a little boy learn letters and sounds. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out the best way to teach him in order for him to learn, and I loved seeing the lightbulb moments, when everything clicked! I started thinking about becoming a teacher and trying to make a difference in kids' lives. I'm so glad I did...being a teacher has been a blessing for me!” 

Espindola credits her passion for education to the teachers that have made a difference in her life.  

“I had many teachers growing up that inspired me and pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. The time and effort they poured into me have affected me to this day, and I love that education causes ripples that continue to grow forever. Teachers and education change the world! I also believe that each student on our rosters is placed there for a reason - the goal is to make a difference in their lives, but more often than not, they make a difference in ours.” 

Espindola is looking forward to a great school year and representing Frenship on a state level. 

“Teaching is not easy - a lot of time, it's messy and imperfect and exhausting. But we are where we are for a reason, and the work we do matters every day! Frenship is an amazing place to be, and I am proud to serve this community alongside the best of the best!”  

Congratulations and good luck Tara Espindola!