Uvalde teacher wins national education award

UVALDE, Texas – A Uvalde teacher has been honored with a national education award.

Mercedes Salas of Uvalde Elementary School is one of three winners of the annual Crystal Apple Awards, announced Tuesday by School Specialty, a leading provider of learning environments and supplies to the pre-K–12 education market.

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According to a news release, the award “celebrates teachers who embody inspiration, leadership, and passion in teaching.”

School Specialty received a record 611 nominations this year, nearly doubling last year’s total. School Specialty selects 10 finalists from the nominees, and three winners are then selected by public vote. This year’s winners will each receive a personalized trophy and a $500 gift certificate from School Specialty for themselves, as well as a $250 School Specialty gift certificate for their school, the news release said.

Salas was the focus of a KSAT Investigates report about her fight to get workers’ compensation for injuries she endured during the Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in May 2022.

Despite the emotional trauma and physical toll the shooting took on her, Salas returned to the classroom weeks later to teach summer school and has continued teaching at Uvalde CISD since.

“I feel like if I’m not there, you know, something might happen,” Salas said.

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