McAllen ISD has 10 teachers, 2 schools recognized for classroom tech

Ten science teachers and two campuses in McAllen ISD have been recognized by Exploring Learning Gizmos for their use of technology in classroom lessons with their students.

These teachers were recognized for “outstanding leadership and commitment to using technology in the classroom and to honor Gizmos leaders.” The recognized teachers include:

  • Joseph Kowalski, Lamar Academy (Top overall teacher)
  • Joanna Bautista-Pena, Lamar Academy
  • Vanessa Casso, Cathey Middle School
  • Michael Castillo, Achieve Early College High
  • Katherine Friedlein, Memorial High
  • Karl Garcia, De Leon Middle School
  • Rene Navarro, Cathey Middle School
  • Janet Trant, Fossum Middle School
  • Joni Villarreal, Rowe High
  • Carolina Zarinana, Memorial High

In addition, Lamar Academy and Cathey Middle School have been identified as the top Gizmos campuses in McAllen ISD.  Each received the School Leadership Award for "Making a difference with Math and Science simulations."

Explore Learning Gizmos are interactive science simulations that help educators bring powerful new learning experiences to the classroom.

“These McAllen ISD science teachers were able to keep lab investigations at the forefront of instruction even during remote learning with this district resource,” McAllen ISD Secondary Science Coordinator Celeste Garza said. “Science teachers at Lamar Academy and Cathey Middle School demonstrated the highest commitment to using Gizmos with their students for the 2020-21 school year.”

Lamar Academy is home to the Options in Education High and the International Baccalaureate Programme (grades 9-12). It was recently listed in America's Best High School Rankings 2021 by US News & World Report magazine.

Cathey Middle School is a Texas Honor Roll school.