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Horizon selects Hernandez as ‘Teacher of the Year’

MADISON – Tesa Hernandez credits her school climate, not herself, as the reason for a recent honor at Horizon Elementary School.

“‘I’ am not Teacher of the Year. ‘Horizon’ is Teacher of the Year,” Hernandez said. “I know it sounds corny, but it is from the heart.”

“I am a culmination of all my experiences with my fellow teachers, students and parents. Those experiences lead to stable fluidity and adaptability,” Hernandez said. “Each individual that I encounter, I learn something from and incorporate that in my repertoire of knowledge to guide my actions.”

An 18-year veteran of Horizon, Hernandez currently teaches fifth-grade advanced math. Previously, she worked as a preschool teacher, bilingual teacher aid and mental health counselor.

Hernandez holds bachelor’s degrees from Louisiana State University in psychology and University of Alabama in Huntsville in elementary education.

She participates in Madison City School’s Advanced Academic Resource Teacher group and Patchwork Reading Committee for literacy. She co-founded Horizon’s outdoor garden.

Hernandez has sponsored Horizons’ archery and running clubs and Elite Eagles, Horizon’s Green Power Racing team when elementary students first were allowed to build/race a Green Goblin car. She has taught photography.

Her husband Paul works as an electrical engineer for U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center on Redstone Arsenal. Their family moved from Louisiana to Guntersville in 1991.

“We moved to Madison in 1995 to prepare our two daughters for enrollment in Madison City’s newly created school system. That’s the only reason we moved to Madison — for the schools,” Tesa said.

Tesa and Paul have three children. Sarah Hernandez Leach and husband Tyler of Nashville are both graduates of Bob Jones High School and UA. Sarah teaches with Nashville’s Valor Collegiate Academies; Tyler works as Supervisor of Revenue for 3M.

Daughter Rachel Hernandez works for Jacobs as a mechanical engineer at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Seth Hernandez, a sixth-grader at Discovery Middle School, participates in Cadet Band and soccer.

Hernandez earned a Black Belt from Rocket City Tae Kwon Do. She has run a marathon, half-marathon and multiple 5Ks, along with fundraisers for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I enjoy photography,” Hernandez said. “Gardening and exploring the outdoors are a passion that I inherited from my father. I enjoy learning new things; I’m a lifelong learner.”

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