The New Braunfels ISD districtwide teachers of the year for the 2023-24 school year were announced during the Excellence Awards Ceremony at McKenna Events Center on Tuesday, April 30. Dr. Laurelyn Arterbury, NBISD Superintendent, announced the winners who received their awards from NBISD chiefs of schools: Wade Ivy and Matt DeLoach.

Elementary Teacher of the Year

The NBISD Elementary Teacher of the Year for the 2023-24 school year is Nikki Hutchison who teaches special education life skills at Walnut Springs Elementary. She is in her seventh year of teaching and second year with NBISD. Previously, she worked in Pflugerville ISD, where she was also named a teacher of the year.

Known as “Hutch” by her colleagues, she has taken on various leadership roles throughout her career. She has served as a mentor teacher for student teachers and first-year educators, offering guidance and support. Additionally, Hutchison has been instrumental as a training lead teacher for behavior intervention.

As a former college student-athlete, she was honored with the Texas State University Athletic Department Bobcat Pride Award. During her tenure as a member of the Bobcat volleyball team, she won two conference championships. 

“She is the embodiment of team. She walks the halls of Walnut Springs with a smile and she has thoughtful words of encouragement for everyone,” said Walnut Springs Principal Leigh Bailey. “She is known for her willingness – even eagerness to help in any capacity she is able – regardless of the inconvenience or difficulty. She shows a relentless commitment to her students, and she finds the most effective way to reach and grow them to be the best version of themselves.”

Secondary Teacher of the Year

This year’s district Secondary Teacher of the Year was awarded to Melissa Zúñiga, an English as a second language teacher at New Braunfels High School. She has been with NBISD for 10 years, and teaching in her current role for the last six years.

Zúñiga has served in many roles throughout her life with NBISD. As a New Braunfels High School graduate, she also volunteered for many while raising her four children in New Braunfels. She then began focusing on English as a second language in 2014. She then worked at the Ninth Grade Center where she was the Teacher of the Year in 2017-18. 

As for leadership, she serves as the coordinator of NBISD’s Title III Secondary Family Engagement Night and ESL services at the school including scheduling, intervention and social services. Zúñiga also serves as the ESL supervisor and as mentor to many ESL teachers. 

“Melissa embodies the spirit of ‘Every student. Every day.’ In her role at NBHS, she supports our language learners and ensures they have all the tools necessary to find success. At the same time, she holds her kiddos to the same high standards as all other students,” said NBHS Principal Greg Hughes. “Melissa is a team player, supportive of our classroom teachers, and advocates for her program. She is not afraid to challenge the status quo and shows up each day with the mindset of making someone else’s life better.”

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