Jan Holland is Secondary Teacher of the Year, and Maria Hernandez is Elementary Teacher of the Year for Nacogdoches ISD. Both were selected last month as their campus Teachers of the Year; Holland at Nacogdoches High School and Hernandez at Nettie Marshall Early Childhood Center.

Holland leads the cosmetology program at NHS and has 35 years of experience in the beauty industry. She graduated from Ms. Mac’s Beauty College in 1988 with a Cosmetology Operator Degree, and took business classes in 1992 at Angelina College.

Holland’s passion for teaching led her to obtain her Cosmetology Instructor license through the Nacogdoches High School Cosmetology program in 2002, where she did her student teaching. She has been teaching at Nacogdoches High School for 12 years and has had a 100 percent licensing rate for her students this year.

Holland is an active member of SkillsUSA, which oversees state and national high school competitions for cosmetology students. Over the years, numerous students in Holland’s program have advanced to state and national competitions. 

Holland is a member of the SkillsUSA National Education Esthetics team and teaches other educators at conferences and workshops. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Industrial Vocational Association for teachers for 10 years.

Hernandez teaches Pre-K students at the Nettie Marshall Early Childhood Center. She’s spent 43 years in education, first in her native Mexico before joining NISD. Hernandez obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education Motolinia University in 1980, and her career as a teacher started in a rural community in Mexico. 

During her teaching years in Mexico, Hernandez received recognition for her students’ high academic performance on state assessments. 

In 2001, Hernandez and her family moved to Nacogdoches. Upon arrival, Hernandez applied for a job in NISD’s Student Nutrition Department to help in the school kitchen. But when longtime NISD administrator G. W. Neal, who was Director of Human Resources at the time, found out about her teaching experience in Mexico, Neal hired Hernandez as a bilingual instructor. 

Understanding the importance of education, Hernandez motivates her students each year by ensuring they believe in their own potential. She lets each student and their parents know they are “the smartest students in the district,” creating a classroom culture of high academic expectations.