UIW Teaching Graduate Wins State and National Awards

September 28, 2023

Ellen Romious Honored as Clinical/Student Teacher of the Year

San Antonio – September 28, 2023 – “When I found out I won these two awards, it was actually very surreal. It’s one of those things that you apply for, but never actually expect to win.”

It may not have been what anyone expected when Ellen Romious, a recent UIW Dreeben School of Education graduate, was nominated for both the 2022-2023 Texas Clinical Teacher of the Year award and the 2022-2023 KDP/ATE National Student Teacher of the Year award, but Romious deservingly was selected as the recipient of both.

“It’s very easy to doubt yourself when you are a student teacher, so it was really validating to know that, not just one, but two separate organizations thought I was doing a good enough job to be recognized,” says Romious.

“Making the state teacher of the year is fabulous and we are very, very proud,” says Dr. Denise Staudt, dean of the UIW Dreeben School of Education. “But to have the state and the national, it is very, very unusual and we are so proud of her. We knew she was a good teacher, but now she is being recognized for it.”

Winning these two awards is not the first time Romious has done the unexpected. After all, you could say teaching has come about as a second career. Romious worked in the field of physical therapy for more than ten years before deciding to take a new path. That’s when she found her way to the University of the Incarnate Word and the Dreeben School of Education.

“There were a lot of things I enjoyed about physical therapy, but I felt it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” explains Romious. “I’ve always loved English Language Arts and school in general. So that’s what drew me to becoming an English teacher.”

It’s also not the first time a UIW Dreeben School of Education graduate has been honored as the Clinical Teacher of the Year on the state level. As a matter of fact, this is the third year in a row that a UIW alum has been chosen to receive the honor.

“That says all kinds of things about our program,” says Staudt. “We have fabulous students. We have fabulous faculty. For them to be honored as state student teachers of the year three years in a row? You just don’t find many universities who can do that.”

“I think one of the huge advantages of UIW is because it is a smaller university, you get to know all your professors,” recalls Romious. “It’s such a good environment. You really get to feel like all your professors are invested in your success.”

Representatives from the University recently honored Romious for her accomplishment by visiting her class at Brandeis High School. But the real awards will come later when Romious is honored during an October event for her accomplishment on the state level and during a November event in St. Louis when she receives her national award. Romious says she is looking forward to being able to thank everyone during those events who have been a part of her journey.

“For those who helped me along the way, there are not enough words to describe my gratitude,” says Romious. “I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people throughout my entire student teaching journey. From the entire Dreeben School of Education staff, to the staff at Brandeis High School, to my Mentor Teacher, Bonnie Middleton and Field Supervisor, Teri Chidgey, and, of course, my family. Everyone has been so patient, kind, encouraging and supportive. I could go on and on about the extra time and effort each one of these individuals has invested in me to help me be successful. I can’t imagine a better environment for me to begin my career as a new teacher than UIW and Brandeis.”

And while Romious is well aware that her accomplishment in winning these two awards in the same year is rare, she says her path to achieve such accolades can certainly be replicated. And that is the lesson she hopes her students at Brandeis will take away from this achievement.

“For my students, I hope they learn that you don’t have to be perfect in what you do, but if you try your best and work hard, people will notice,” concludes Romious. “I never expected to be nominated for these awards, but if you show up every day, with a good attitude and consistent work ethic, good things will happen for you.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Valdes, Media and Public Relations Manager, Office of Communications & Brand Marketing, (210) 829-6001, (210) 422-4052 or michael.valdes@uiwtx.edu