Donna Reese Hilton was born at McDill Air Force Base in
Florida on October 11, 1947. Her father, Robert Reese, a
former Japanese POW and WWII veteran was active in the Air
Force and moved the family every three years. Thus Donna
was allowed to see various parts of the United States and the
world. Her fathers last tour of duty brought her to El Paso,
Donna received her B. S. in Education from the University of
Texas at El Paso in 1969. She received her Masters of
education in Special Education and History from West Texas
State University (now West Texas A & M University in 1974. In
1996, she moved to Arden Road School (Canyon ISD) where
she continues to teach 5th grade.
Donna Hilton completed rigorous requirements to gain National
Board certification in 1998, and was recognized by the Texas
legislature in March 2001 through a resolution commending
Texas nationally certified teachers that read:
Teachers who have achieved certification have had a
measurable impact on the scholastic performance of students
throughout our state and nation; school districts across Texas
have grown to appreciate the benefits of encouraging teachers
to strive for certification, a fact that is evidenced by Texas
boasting a host of certified teachers, the resolution states.
Donna Hilton had not expected this kind of recognition when
she started the national certification process five years ago. I
had gotten to that part of my career where I wanted a
challenge, but I didnt want to go back to college, she said. I
wanted to stay in the classroom.
The El Paso native has taught at Arden Road since 1995. She
decided to go for the national certification in December of 1996
after her daughter, Jordan, now 23, left home for college. Her
son Adam was still in school, but she had more time.
I taught 26 years. I was kind of looking for something new to
accomplish, Hilton said. Im a goal-orientated person.
In the summer of 1997, she submitted the required portfoliomore like a thesis,
she saidand took the test.
It takes about a year to go through the process, Hilton said.
In 1998, Hiltons 28th year as a professional educator, the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit
organization, granted Hilton the middle childhood generalist
certification, one of 15 certifications the group offers.
Mine basically is more about how I teach; I dont really
specialize in one area, she said.
Hilton, a soft-spoken teacher with long, gray hair, said the
program made her think deeply about teaching.
I am not the teacher I was before I started this, Hilton said.