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Tompkins Head Choir Director Named H-E-B Excellence in Education Finalist

KATY, TX [January 30, 2024] – Obra D. Tompkins High School’s Head Choir Director, Christian De la Cruz, has recently been announced as a finalist for this year’s H-E-B Excellence in Education Award. Mr. De la Cruz’s nomination, which he achieved in only his second year in his current position, speaks to the positive impact he makes in the lives of his students and fellow staff members.


According to the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards website, the process begins by asking customers, H-E-B employees and community members to nominate outstanding teachers and principals from across the state. A panel of judges reviews the applications, narrowing the field to an esteemed group of semi-finalists. From that pool, five regional judging panels, consisting of former award recipients, administrators, and university and community leaders unaffiliated with H-E-B, choose 40 teacher and principal finalists.


As one of the 40 state-finalists, Mr. De la Cruz now stands the chance to be recognized as one of the six teachers in Texas who will receive this year’s award. Finalists are invited to a celebratory dinner, highlighting the exceptional achievements of these educators, with winners set to be announced at the event.


When asked about the significance music brings to the lives of his students, Mr. De la Cruz stated, “Music is a way for students to express their complex emotions and it provides an outlet for them to convey their feelings in a safe and artistic way.” Commenting on the honor of being named a finalist for this award, he added, “This recognition is so humbling and represents the hard work from our students, staff and the support from our community.”


Mark Grisdale, Principal at Tompkins High School, expressed pride in Mr. De la Cruz, stating, “The Tompkins High School community is proud of Mr. De la Cruz for his steadfast dedication to his students and the vibrant atmosphere and learning experiences he creates both inside and outside the classroom. He has helped build a program that invites students to become part of a team while teaching them an appreciation for music.”  

Finalists for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, along with their respective schools, will receive a cash prize ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on category.


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Katy Independent School District, the leader in educational excellence, together with family and community, provides unparalleled learning experiences designed to prepare and inspire each student to live an honorable, fulfilling life – to create the future.