Teacher of the Year Draws on Family Heritage
In May, University of St. Thomas graduate student Hafedh Azaiez was named HISD’s 2007 Secondary Teacher of the year. Azaiez is currently an eighth-grade teacher at Pin Oak Middle School in Bellaire. He was selected from 268 nominees and received $5,000 in grand prizes for this honor.
“My contribution is not recognized by a trophy, but by seeing my students change their lives and become successful citizens,” Azaiez said. “This process is more precious, more valuable to me than any trophy or amount of money.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, who was an educator for more than 30 years, Azaiez has discovered his own passion for teaching and mentoring to his students. A native of Tunisia, Africa, he began his teaching career in 2002 at Richard Fonville Middle School. Azaiez was noticed by his peers when he taught the first bioengineering and world health courses at Pin Oak Middle School, which earned him the nomination for teacher of the year.
Outside the classroom, Azaiez serves as the chairperson for the Pin Oak Science Department and coach of the boys’ soccer and cross-country programs.
Azaiez credits his UST professors who created a successful learning environment where he acquired the skills and confidence to become a strong leader for his students. The inclusive environment at the University and the supportive cohort in the School of Education gave him the opportunity to experience classroom teaching first hand.
According to Sr. Marie Faubert, CSJ, director of Counselor Education Program “Hafedh demonstrated sensitivity, commitment and competence in the multicultural populations course where he was required to develop the knowledge, ability and skills as a teacher of students from many different backgrounds. All of the members of the class congratulate Hafedh for his achievement as teacher of the year.”
The Master of Education Program at the University of St. Thomas is designed to develop master classroom teachers, instructional specialists and school leaders who demonstrate the ability to translate and apply educational research in instructional settings.