LUBBOCK and EL PASO, Texas — Ramon Benavides, a Doctoral student at Texas Tech University, was named Texas Teacher of the Year.

Benavides is representing the state of Texas in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

“It’s still surreal,” Benavides said. “I’m still–I’m still letting it sink in.”

Benavides was named Secondary Teacher of the Year, then named Region 19 Teacher of the Year, leading to his nomination for the state level. Benavides said his nomination went a bit different than he had planned.

“The day before something was supposed to be announced, they came to me, and my principal was like, ‘Hey, man, you make sure you come dressed tomorrow, make sure you come in a suit,'” Benavides said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, I was planning to anyway, there’s gonna be a ceremony.'”

Benavides said they sat down for the ceremony, and before he knew it, he was named Texas Teacher of the Year.

Benavides is currently studying at Tech to get his Ph.D. and said his time throughout the program has taught him so much.

“I owe a lot to Texas Tech. And I know they’ve guidance along the way,” Benavides said. “And I just want to thank them and thank the professors at the College of Education that have been our mentors and been our guides through this whole process.”

Dr. Jesse Perez Mendez, Dean of the College of Education, said he’s proud to have a student like Benavides as he represents many things of what the Hispanic Serving Institution is about.

“To be named as Hispanic Serving Institution, you have to have at least 25 percent of your student population being labeled as Latinx,” Perez Mendez said. “And I think, what Ramon Benavides is doing in his community, the work he’s doing as a scholar, it makes him a role model not only as far as all of our students, regardless of their walk of life, but also just an inspiration overall, for all of us Texans.”

According to Perez Mendez, Benavides not only represents El Paso but Texas Tech.

“December 7 was named Ramon Benavides, Jr. Day by the city of El Paso,” Perez Mendez said.

Benavides said he’s still in disbelief that he was named Texas State Teacher of the Year.