Elsa Muñoz, a caring mother of two Irving ISD students and a parent volunteer at Townsell Elementary, is one of 15 recipients in the state of the Texas State Board of Education 2022 Heroes for Children Award.

The State Board of Education established the Heroes for Children award program in 1994 and has since honored over 500 Texans for their contributions. The award is designed to recognize excellence in advocacy for education and to highlight the many outstanding volunteers whose efforts represent significant contributions to public school education in Texas.

“When I found I was selected, I was surprised and excited!” says Muñoz.

During the summer, Deyanira Valdez, a Parent Liaison at Townsell Elementary, was asked to nominate one parent volunteer for the statewide award.

“I had so many volunteers to choose from, but I chose Elsa because she is magnificent!” says Valdez. “This is my ninth year here at Townsell, and Elsa’s been a parent volunteer since before I even started!”

Muñoz will receive a plaque, a certificate of recognition from Governor Greg Abbott and a copy of a board resolution honoring her service. Her name will also be engraved on a perpetual plaque that is permanently displayed at the Texas Education Agency headquarters in Austin.

In her nomination letter, Valdez credits Muñoz’s willingness to put students first as one of her greatest qualities. She mentions a time when the school had picture day on a Friday and needed a volunteer to help. Even though Fridays were the day when Elsa would normally do laundry, she selflessly decided to push it back to the following Monday so she could be there to help.

“I know that any time I spend helping my child’s teacher by cutting out arts and crafts, stapling handouts or just helping out in any way I can – that’s time that the teacher can now invest in instructing and supporting my children,” says Muñoz.

Although her children have moved on to middle school, her love for Townsell Elementary remains as she continues to volunteer on a regular basis. Even being in the middle of a global pandemic couldn’t put a damper on Muñoz’s willingness to lend a helping hand.

“At no point did Muñoz ever forget about our school,” says Valdez. “Because we were unable to allow parents on campus, Muñoz would reach out to me and ask for ways she could help from home. That’s just the kind of person she is.”

The recognition and honor that comes with the award are very heartfelt for her.

“I feel very privileged to have won this award,” she says.

Muñoz encourages other parents to get involved in their child’s education so that, they too, can experience being a part of the larger school community.

“It’s beautiful to come help and be involved in your school’s parent center,” she says. “Helping out during whatever small amounts of free time you may have helps you stay informed, meet new people and ultimately break down the initial barrier so you can form a connection with your child’s teacher.”