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alliantgroup Houston Hosts Luncheon to Recognize Elementary Science Teachers of Texas with Annual SPARK Award


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HOUSTON – August 21, 2023 – This is the fifth year that alliantgroup has recognized the most inspiring elementary science teachers of Texas with the SPARK Award. The award, which began as the Elementary Science Teacher Award, was born out of alliantgroup’s mission to support and strengthen American businesses as our nation’s drivers of innovation. alliantgroup knows that STEM education is a huge part of creating the innovators of tomorrow and these teachers are doing an outstanding job creating that ‘spark’ of joy that leads to a lifelong love of STEM.

This year’s SPARK Award winner is Manuel Gonzalez Bert from H. M. Carroll Elementary in Sheldon ISD in Sheldon, Texas. Manual has been teaching for more than 22 years. He currently teaches fourth and fifth grade science. In addition to teaching, he coaches the school’s competitive robotics team and hopes to inspire his students to be curious outside the classroom.

“Winning the SPARK Award and being recognized by alliantgroup means that somebody besides the kids I teach is paying attention to what is happening in the classroom. Above all, it’s a little recognition for our efforts,” shares Bert.

And this year’s SPARK People’s Choice Award winner is Guadalupe Villatoro from Harmony School of Science in El Paso, Texas. Villatoro has only been teaching for three years, but she is clearly making an impact in her fourth, fifth and sixth grade science classes.

FOX 26 Houston meteorologist Lena Arango served as the SPARK Award ceremony emcee. The judges included Texas A&M mechanical engineering professor Dr. Robert Ambrose, CBS 42 Austin news anchor Adela Uchida, NBC 23 Brownsville meteorologist Chris Ramirez, Baly Projects President Hon. Jacquie Baly, and FOX 26 Houston news anchor Caroline Collins.

The other finalists include the teachers:

Ritu Gandhi from Morales Elementary School in Pasadena ISD

Xochitl Lara from Zavala Elementary in Harlingen CISD

Robin Beasley from Patton Elementary School in Austin ISD

Guadalupe Villatoro from Harmony School of Science in Harmony Public Schools

Rosa Edwards Harris from Herod Elementary School in Houston ISD

The grand prize winner Manual Gonzalez received a cash prize of $3500 and each of the five finalists were awarded $1300. Each teacher was also given $500 to spend on classroom supplies.

Texas State Representative Gene Wu and Frank Gonzalez representing U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia were on hand to present official certificates of recognition to each finalist.

Dhaval Jada, Chief Executive Officer of alliantgroup
“This ceremony is one of my favorite times of the year. STEM is clearly our passion and we are so honored to recognize and reward the teachers that dedicate their careers to instilling that lifelong curiosity in our nation’s future superstars,” said Dhaval Jadav, CEO of alliantgroup.

The SPARK Award, which has evolved from the alliantgroup Elementary Science Teacher Award, was created to reward local teachers who are increasing student achievement and engagement through innovative lesson plans that emphasize both the importance and fun aspects of science. For more information on the 2023 SPARK Award, please visit

alliantgroup is the nation’s premier consulting and management engineering firm with a mission to strengthen American businesses through reinvestment in innovation and job growth. We educate businesses, the industry groups that serve them and the accounting firms that advise them on federal and state credits and incentives that are legislated by our government to keep the U.S. competitive in the global landscape. alliantgroup is headquartered in Houston, Texas with additional offices located in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, Irvine, Sacramento, Washington, D.C.; and Bristol and London in the U.K.