Spotlight Series: 2021-22 ATPE Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Award Winner Diana Ybarra
Date Posted: 11/21/2022
The ATPE Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Awards acknowledge ATPE members who demonstrate exceptional or innovative capabilities in their respective education fields. Our award winners were announced at the 2022 ATPE Summit held July 6-8 in Grapevine, and in the Administrator of the Year category, Diana Ybarra was chosen for her outstanding work as principal of Rafael Galvin Elementary in Corpus Christi ISD.
Since she took on the role of principal five years ago, Ybarra says that from the start one of her main goals was to build a welcoming and positive environment to make every student, teacher, staff, and parent feel like they belonged. She believes that her role as a principal is to make sure not only that students are learning, but that they also feel safe and accepted in their learning environment.
We caught up with Ybarra to get her thoughts on education and her career:
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I've done eight half marathons and numerous 5K/10K's in the past 20 years.
What made you want to be an educator?
My family instilled in me from a very young age to serve others with an open heart and mind no matter who they are or where they come from.
What is your biggest hope for the future of Texas public schools?
My biggest hope is that our Texas public schools continue to put our children first regardless of the changes that take place within society. Pre-K has been a big push within our state in order to build an early foundation in literacy and mathematics. The first 5 years of a child’s life is crucial for them to connect, talk, and use play to enhance their development.
I would also like our state to support schools having programs that promote character building through trusting relationships. Capturing Kid's Hearts is a great example because my district has been implementing it for the past 3 years, which has helped us heal after COVID-19.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is building relationships with my school family and letting them know they can do anything if they put their mind to it. It's important that they know they are loved no matter how many mistakes are made because each day is a gift for us to start all over again. My days start off with giving high fives, smiles, and hugs!
What are the most important things you wish someone had told you when you started out in your career?
- There is never a dull moment working at the elementary level.
- Live in the now and learn from our mistakes so you can look forward to your future.
- After each struggle that comes our way, there are brighter days ahead.
- Education is more than a job; it’s a calling.
It's important for administrators to stay connected with their students, teachers, staff, and parents. Communication is key to avoid miscommunication in all aspects. It's essential that educators support and encourage each other due to the constant changes in today's societal needs—from upgrading state assessments to accommodating the whole child. Flexibility is the key to growth in both our profession and our students.
What’s your favorite Texas vacation?
Schlitterbahn with the family during summer break!
Congratulations to Diana Ybarra and all of the ATPE award winners and finalists!
Do you know an educator who is doing an outstanding job? Recognize a colleague who changes lives and inspires excellence by nominating them for an ATPE Educator of the Year Award. Highlight the work of your local unit by applying for Local Unit of the Year or nominate an outstanding ATPE volunteer for Campus Representative of the Year.
The 2022-23 ATPE awards nomination deadline is Dec. 1, so submit your nomination today. Visit atpe.org/Submit-Your-ATPE-Award-Nominations for full details, nomination forms, and applications.