Yaquelin Serrano is Rookie Teacher of the Year

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City, TX. ~ July 11, 2023, the Jacinto City Elementary School (JCES) in the Galena Park ISD has many top of the line administrators and teachers. Dr. Rebecca “Becky” Gardea, Principal, and Cecilia Meza, Assistant Principal, are two examples any school district would be proud to have on their staff. The parents of the students are fortunate to have these two ladies overseeing their child’s early education.

Ms. Yaquelin Serrano is another bright spot at the JCES, the home of the Tigers. She is teaching Kindergarten students ages 5 – 6. This age of learning is vital to the overall future of our citizenry. Their education at this age will have a vital influence in determining whether or not as an adult they will have a positive productive life in their community. Equally the parents are blessed to have all of the other dedicated teachers at JCES teaching their children.

I know how important this early education is during a child’s primary educational years, as both my daughter Yvette and son Allan Jr. graduated from JCES. They both are blessed now with families of their own, and both are assets to their communities.

Ms. Serrano was voted on by faculty to the honored and award the Rookie Teacher of the Year for 2022 & 2023.

Yaquelin decided she wanted to become a teacher after working as a long-term substitute teacher at JCES. And she worked hard to become a certified teacher, having to have lots of college courses and passing many tests. She had to pass the Core Subjects EC-6, the Science of Teaching Reading, the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test, the Bilingual Supplemental, and the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Exam.

She attended San Jacinto Community College and University of Houston-Downtown. She got her Bachelor’s Degree and majored in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. She wants to make teaching her career and intends to get a Master’s in Education and is hoping someday to become a school administrator.

Her parents Jose and Maria Serrano say they’re proud of Yaquelin becoming a teacher. In fact it was her proud mother Maria who called it to my attention one day in a brief meeting that her daughter was awarded Rookie Teacher of the Year.

“They believe teaching is a rewarding career and that teachers can have a positive impact on the lives of many children,” Yaquelin said.

Ms. Serrano is a life-long student of the GPISD. She was in choir in elementary, middle, and high school, on the National Honor Society at Galena Park High School (GPHS), on the GPHS Jacketeers dance team during her sophomore and junior year in high school, and was a Military Officer Junior Lieutenant (Dance Captain) her junior year in high school.

She loves pets and has 2 adopted dogs: Sandy, a German Shepherd mix, and Bella, a Shih Tzu mix. She enjoys country western music, and her favorite singer is county singer Cody Johnson. Her favorite food is Mexican, especially enchiladas and flautas. She and her boyfriend like fishing and taking nature walks. Her mother is her biggest influence in her life; they communicate every day.

Yaquelin says, “The best advice I’ve received is to not limit myself. “The only person standing in the way of your goals is yourself.’”

And if she could give a 10-minute presentation on any subject she said it would be on a Psychology topic.

“I’ve always had a fascination with how our brains function and how our environment affects how we are shaped.”

She is a first-generation college student, meaning the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. She graduated Summa Cum Laude (with the highest honors) from college.

“I want to give a shout-out to all my ‘family’ at Jacinto City Elementary. Jacinto City Elementary is a great school to work for, and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else,” she said.

She had the pleasure of teaching a child of someone she went to middle school with. And she said, “I’m extremely thankful that I was chosen as the Rookie of the Year at Jacinto City Elementary. It is an honor to represent JCE.”

Yaquelin’s younger brother Luis Serrano graduated from college this year (May 2023) with a degree in Mathematics. He will be teaching Algebra at Galena Park High School in the fall.