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'This is an amazing teacher' | Tillie Sanchez wins KENS 5 EXCEL Award for San Antonio ISD

The students at Poe Middle School say their teacher is a “good human being with a big heart. One they will never forget.”

SAN ANTONIO — “I just want to say for everyone watching, this is an amazing teacher. We have an incredible 3,500 teachers but to my colleagues in the region, she’s not going anywhere.”

SAISD Superintendent Jaime Aquino is talking about Tillie Sanchez, the collaborative education teacher at Poe STEM Dual Language Middle. The school district nominated Sanchez from 3,500 teachers for our KENS 5 EXCEL Award which includes $1,000 from our partner Credit Human.

As Sarah Forgany presented Sanchez with the award, students told her their teacher is a “good human being with a big heart. One they will never forget.”

"They just moved me up from 8th because I flunked two years of school."

14-year-old Damien says he has challenges like many of these kids, some personal, some at school, but there's one person who always has their back.

"It's like Spiderman senses, spidey senses like that,” Damien said, "somehow she's going to find out about your struggles and help you with that."

Damien is referring to Tillie Sanchez.

"Somewhere along the line they were either held behind a grade or they missed out a year somewhere,” Sanchez said.

Some view it as a setback, but Sanchez sees the sky is the limit.

"I just tell them they could do whatever they want to do. They just need to keep in mind that they can't stop trying.“

Because she never stopped.

"So at one point in your life, you were these kids?” asked Sarah Forgany, to which Sanchez replied "Yes."

Growing up, Sanchez didn't give college a thought.

"I got a last minute scholarship. My dad was super excited that he was like, Oh, you're going to go to college? And I didn't want to disappoint him. So I was like, Yeah, I'm going to college."

She went on to become a first generation college graduate, setting her sights on her own classroom one day but to get here, she faced her own troubles.

“I did a couple of classes and then I stopped going to class,” Sanchez said, “Probably a good ten years that I was like working, but I would work like two jobs."

After more than a decade teaching Special ED and now Collaborative Education,

"So Thank you, we are so proud, so proud of you.” SAISD's Superintendent Jaime Aquino says she's among the best.

8th grader Zuleika Moreno says Sanchez truly cares.

"She knows that we're all different and so that being said, she still helps us as much she can as possible."

"They just need somebody to listen,” Sanchez noted.

Her message to them, where's there's a will "I always tell them there's a way, even if it's not college, there's something out there. "

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