The Texas OnRamps program at UT Austin honored a local educator and five other Texas teachers for the OnRamps Instructor of the Year Award on July 28, 2017. The OnRamps program partners with more than 70 school districts and 350 UT faculty members and teachers across the state to provide college-level courses to high school students.
Jonathan Alexander, a statistics instructor at Stony Point High School in Round Rock ISD, was one of the six awardees.
“My best days of OnRamps Statistics have been the ones where students are directing the classroom and helping each other fill the holes in their content knowledge,” Alexander says. “Kids love to try and figure out the coding, and they often shoo away my assistance when I offer it. If there is one thing I’ve successfully taught my students to do, it’s being a risk-taker. Students now, more than at the beginning of the year, are willing to take a shot.”
The path to Instructor of the Year began with a rigorous application process that included nominations, essays and letters of recommendation. Two committees of educational leaders from The University of Texas at Austin spearheaded the anonymous selection of the six honorees. The competitive pool of candidates included more than 200 Texas teachers who had implemented OnRamps courses in 2016-2017.
Each Instructor of the Year received a crystal award and $1,500. Other Instructor of the Year recipients included Dante Schmidt of Richardson ISD, Bryce Henderson of Wichita Falls ISD, Shelly Steele of Ponder ISD, Deborah Pannabecker of Randolph Field ISD and Tobi Brooks of Richardson ISD.
Pictured: Instructor of the Year recipient Shelly Steele (left) and OnRamps Director Julie Schell (right). Photo courtesy of UT Austin.