DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — A bilingual language arts teacher at John H. Reagan Elementary School has been named ‘Teacher of the Year’ by the Dallas Independent School District.

Silvia Alonzo, also a Dallas ISD graduate, was honored at the district’s annual Teacher of the Year event and dinner on Thursday. She will receive a $5,000 prize.

A committee comprised of educators, parents, community partners and others selected Alonzo from a field of five finalists.

“Ms. Silvia Alonzo is the example of the teacher we all remember from our youth. She is the teacher we all wish we could go back and thank for their efforts,” wrote Sebastian Bozas, principal of John H. Reagan Elementary. “She is the teacher all teachers (at Reagan) support because she exemplifies the best of Dallas ISD.”

Alonzo believes she makes a difference in the lives of her second- and third-grade students by providing encouragement.

“I encourage them, give them praise, and build up their confidence by reminding them of how intelligent they are and how I truly believe they have the power to accomplish great things,” said Alonzo.

Here are the four other Teacher of the Year finalists:

• Dana Clark, science teacher, Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School
• Patrick McGhee, High School Language Arts teacher, Woodrow Wilson High School
• Travis Smith, high school math teacher, Trinidad “Trini” Garza Early College at Mountain View College
• Emily Tang, English teacher, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School

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