Mr. Michael Alfers, who teaches social studies and coaches basketball at Dallas' Bishop Dunne Catholic High School, and Mrs. Olga Perez-Garcia, who fills several roles at St. Augustine Elementary School in Laredo, are the 2022 Texas Catholic Conference Bishops' High School Teacher of the Year and Elementary Teacher of the Year, respectively.
High School Teacher of the Year
Mr. Michael Alfers has been a social studies teacher and basketball coach at Bishop Dunne Catholic School since 2001. He has taught Texas History, US History, Government, Economics, World Cultures and World Geography as well as a course on the 1960s in America. He coached varsity basketball for 15 years and is currently the middle school basketball coach.
Alfers is also the moderator for the Dads Club, which organizes projects and fundraisers to support the school and the community. During the pandemic, he has led an effort to purchase meals from local restaurants owned by Bishop Dunne families to help feed school families who experienced financial or medical hardships. He is also the inspiration for a new Bishop Dunne tradition, the Christmas Classic parade. The Dads Club decorates the campus with Christmas lights, various student clubs contribute festive displays, and the band and orchestra play Christmas music.
Alfers made in-person visits to students struggling with remote learning and organized sports activities when league sports were cancelled. According to Bishop Dunne President, Mary Beth Marchiony, “Michael looks for ways to serve. He serves students, families, and our faculty and staff, always putting the needs of others ahead of his own.”
Michael Alfers is a graduate of Bishop Dunne and the University of Dallas and has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame.
Elementary Teacher of the Year
Mrs. Olga Perez-Garcia is in her 26th year of teaching at St. Augustine Elementary School in Laredo. She wears many hats at St. Augustine, including middle school religion teacher, middle school guidance teacher, elementary/middle school campus minister, and second grade sacramental preparation coordinator. Mrs. Perez-Garcia was hired in 1995 to begin the Reading Intervention Program, in which she served as the reading specialist working with students in Kindergarten through fifth grade in need of extra support to become proficient, confident readers.
Mrs. Perez-Garcia believes her true calling is the preparation of second graders for Holy Communion, “not only for the first time but for a lifetime.” She also organizes other celebrations such as the Living Rosary, the Virgen de Guadalupe play, and the May Crowning. According to the principal, Barbra Zurita, “Often she is the one to whom students, teachers, and parents turn during difficult times to ask for advice, prayers, a listening ear or a shoulder on which to lean. She always has the perfect prayer, the right words, a comforting message based on Scripture.”
Mrs. Olga Perez-Garcia was born and raised in Laredo. She attended St. Peter’s Memorial and graduated from Ursuline Academy. She received her teaching degree from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and is the mother of four children, all St. Augustine graduates.