Posted on May 18, 2021 by Christopher Reichert

At Roosevelt Elementary in Edgewood ISD, fourth grade teacher Erica Camarillo is known for going above and beyond for her students. This year, her hard work has been recognized not once – not twice – but three times. Camarillo has been named Teacher of the Year both by Roosevelt, then again by Edgewood and has also won the KENS5 EXCEL Award.

When she first heard she had been awarded by the district, she was surprised and grateful.

“I was very honored to receive this award because I do work very hard, however there are so many teachers who have gone above and beyond,” she said. “There are several teachers here in this district…that could’ve easily received this award.”

Camarillo herself once attended Roosevelt, growing up three blocks from its campus. Her mother was also a teacher for Edgewood, and it was through volunteering with her that Camarillo grew to love giving back to her community. Later on in high school, Camarillo grew close to several of her teachers. They pushed her to overcome her natural quietness and helped inspire her to become a teacher. After graduating from Memorial High School, Camarillo attended UTSA where she earned her bachelor’s in education.

“Several classes in early education prepared me for the first few years of my teaching,” she said, “[Although] you definitely don’t learn all the obstacles until you’re in the classroom by yourself.”

In 2020, Camarillo once again graduated UTSA, this time with her master’s in educational leadership. There, she says, the faculty in her master’s program helped her see education in a new light.

“All their experience and their knowledge was eye opening to so many issues I see happening in the district and in education. I feel like it really prepared me, definitely for more of a leadership role, [to be] more of an advocate,” she said.

As a teacher known for putting in extra effort for her students, Camarillo says that the Covid-19 pandemic posed a variety of new challenges. Of special importance to her was finding creative ways to foster the interpersonal connections that online learning tends to neglect.

“I spent a majority of my time at the beginning of the year trying to establish and build those connections and make those relationships with parents and with the students”

“I spent a majority of my time at the beginning of the year trying to establish and build those connections and make those relationships with parents and with the students,” she said. “Reaching out to them and sending messages, not just the academics and on school, but more on a personal level, just trying to see how they’re doing how they’re coping.”

Camarillo also emphasized reaching out to parents and coming up with ways to help students who struggled more with online learning. Even now that the majority of her kids are back in the classroom, she has not forgotten those few who are still online.

“I still make copies of some of the work that the kids are doing, and I’ll go and drop it off at their house. I definitely did that for our winter break and our thanksgiving break, just kind of checking in at home. I’ve always done several things for the kids over the holidays, so I didn’t want to stop now just because of COVID. Sometimes you just have to go the extra mile,” she said.

Going forward, Camarillo is unsure of what the next year will bring. While she still is committed to giving back to her community, she has expressed a desire in taking that service to the next level, such as with math and science coaching positions.

“I would really love to have a leadership role,” she said. “If I can’t find one of those roles, definitely I’ll be back in the classroom.” 

For more information about Erica Camarillo, visit

- Christopher Reichert 

— Christopher Reichert