By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald

Jane Apodaca, a fourth-grade science teacher at Bellaire Elementary School in Killeen, was named the Region 12 Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Texas Education Agency’s Education Service Center.

“It was a bit overwhelming because teachers in general are humble,” said Apodaca, who will enter her eighth year of teaching this fall. “There are a lot of great teachers in Killeen, so to be chosen to represent the district is overwhelming. However, I’m honored and look forward to representing the region.”

Apodaca was honored previously at the campus and district levels by the Killeen Independent School District, where she has taught for seven years. She will now serve as the regional nominee for the Texas Teacher of the Year award.

“It’s like the final four,” Apodaca joked.

Even though she now says teaching is her life’s passion, this was not always the case. She began a career in human resources after moving to Texas from Kentucky.

After reading the first sentence of the book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Apodaca said knew she should be a teacher. The sentence was: “It’s not about you.”

“Sometimes you’re climbing the ladder of success; you realize you’re on the wrong ladder,” Apodaca said.

Bellaire Principal David House said he is proud of Apodaca.

“Jane is an awesome lady and an awesome teacher,” he said. “She is a great role model because she cares about the kids and it comes through in everything that she does.”

House said one of the things that stood out about Apodaca is that she’s isn’t afraid of hands-on activities. “Science can be intimidating,” he said. “It takes extra work and extra time and she does it.”