DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas ISD teacher was named 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year.

Eric Hale, who teaches at David G. Burnet Elementary School, took home the honor.

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The announcement was made on Wednesday during the virtual Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards Convention.

Eric Hale (credit: Dallas ISD)

He was one of six finalists across the state and will now represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program in the spring.

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An emotional Hale expressed his gratitude on Facebook Wednesday evening.

“I just want to say thank you so much to everybody that prayed for me.  I’m so overjoyed how God has worked with me,” said Hale. “My first year teaching I was told I should try something else and that teaching wasn’t for me.”

Each finalist was interviewed September 12 by a panel of judges composed of representatives of educational leadership associations, community and business leaders, a member of the State Board for Educator Certification, a member of the State Board of Education, and prior Texas Teachers of the Year.

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The Texas Teacher of the Year program recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.