After a selection as a finalist in February, Frenship Middle School Principal Jerry Jerabek was named the 2018 H-E-B Excellence in Education Secondary Principal of the Year last night.
See what the honoree had to say about his experience.
Q: How does it feel to win this prestigious award?
A: “Awesome! Feels like the culminating event of a dozen years of work and growth as principal of FMS. It’s one of the highest honors I’ve ever received in my educational career, that’s for sure! I am deeply honored to have even been nominated for this award, let alone winning it.”
Q: What was the process like?
A: “The finals for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards took place at the brand new Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Houston. After an orientation Friday afternoon, I had an interview Saturday afternoon with a panel of three judges (all of whom were superintendents) that lasted about 45 minutes which was fun, but nerve-racking. We had a practice for the Awards Ceremony on Sunday morning and then the actual event took place Sunday evening.”
Q: What was the awards ceremony like?
A: “It was a beautiful event! The atmosphere felt like the Oscars. H-E-B spared no expense for the gala honoring top educators in Texas with about 400-500 in attendance, including top leadership in Texas education and a number of state legislators and political figures. We had a gourmet dinner followed by a keynote message from Sal Khan, creator of the Khan Academy that was deeply inspiring. Teacher awards were first, then the principal and district awards followed. Each winner got a video showcasing their school and accomplishments played and then they were each allowed to make a brief speech. I’ve always wanted to thank my wife and parents publicly at a big event like this and finally got the chance!”
Q: Was your family able to be there with you?
A: “Yes! My wife Amy and kids Chelsea and Christopher were all there supporting me like they always do. In addition, my parents drove down from Minnesota to attend and I think my award actually means even more to my mom than it does to me, which was very special for us all.”
Q: What is it like bringing this award back to Frenship and FMS?
A: “Super cool! I am so thankful to Frenship ISD for all it has done for me and my own children over all these years and I am thrilled to be putting Frenship and West Texas on the state education radar as a great school system. I truly feel unworthy of such a high honor, because it is the work of my staff and students that is truly what was recognized and they did more than I did to earn this award. I am so proud of all we are doing at FMS and am thrilled to bring this honor home to share with everyone.”
Q: How will you apply this experience to your everyday service at FMS?
A: “For starters, I plan to use part of the $25,000 award for FMS to help our awesome FMS PTA install a digital communication marquee out in front of the school to help publicize events and achievements for all to see for years to come. In addition, I plan to build on this success for both my school and myself with greater confidence and faith that we are on the right track to all become the best we can be as we move forward. I hope that the students of my school will swell with pride and confidence as they burst through the doors of opportunity that their FMS and FISD education will open for them.”
Frenship ISD extends a huge congratulations to Mr. Jerabek on a job well done!