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Susan Armenta Nick Faber Steven V. Griend Evelyn J.Gunn Dona Hilton Carol Midgett
  Teaching Strategies

  Impact on Students


Donna Hilton

Donna Hilton

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 father’s last tour of duty brought her to El Paso, Texas.

Donna received her B. S. in Education from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1969. She received her Master’s 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 didn’t 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. “I’m a goal-orientated person.”

In the summer of 1997, she submitted the required portfolio—more like a thesis, she said—and took the test.

“It takes about a year to go through the process,” Hilton said.

In 1998, Hilton’s 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 don’t 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.

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