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Excellence in Teaching Winner Thankful She Took a Leap of Faith

Note: This is one in a series recognizing winners of the 2021-22 NHA Excellence Awards, a program that honors educators, deans, and administrative teams across our network.

When Diana Hubbard first got married and was a stay-at-home mom, she made sure to promote reading around the house.

But she knew that as her kids grew older, she couldn’t just stay at home. And it was apparent to her husband that she was a natural at guiding children.
Excellence in Teaching winner Diana Hubbard

Aspire Charter Academy Fifth Grade Teacher Diana Hubbard was named an Excellence in Teaching winner.

“My husband said one day, ‘You know what? I think you really have the gift of teaching,’” she said. “I went back to school while they were still at home, I went for teaching, and that was the best decision I made because he tuned in on my gift. My gift is teaching.”

Hubbard is now in her 21st year teaching. She has taught second, third, fifth, and sixth grade the past 12 years at Aspire Charter Academy, which has outperformed the local district for nine years. As a fifth grade teacher, she was honored as an Excellence in Teaching winner as part of the National Heritage Academies (NHA) Excellence Awards for the 2021-22 school year.

The award ceremony was a surreal experience for Hubbard. She was overjoyed to see her son from Houston in attendance and take in a video of her students singing her praises.
Excellence in Teaching winner Diana Hubbard

Diana Hubbard’s family, along with Aspire Principal ReNae Robinson and Dean of Upper Elementary Ashley Pratt, helped her celebrate being named an Excellence in Teaching winner.

“It was so humbling because we teach the students, but we never realized what they’re actually getting,” she said. “To hear them talk about me, that was the reward.”

Hubbard said Aspire’s culture, from the students to the employees, is unmatched compared to other schools she has taught at.

“Some people say, ‘Well that's not in my job title, that doesn’t fit what I’m supposed to do.’ That doesn’t exist here,” she said. “I’ve seen my principals sweeping the floors, picking up trash. I’ve seen my dean cleaning up restrooms."

Excellence in Teaching winner Diana Hubbard

From left, Dean of Upper Elementary Ashley Pratt, Fifth Grade Math Teacher Tarniesha Thompson, Principal ReNae Robinson, Diana Hubbard, and Fifth Grade Reading Teacher Latesha Stuckey.

“I’ve worked at other schools. I’ve been around other admins and I’ve never seen admins do things like that. That really impressed me. They’re really here for the students, they're just sincere in what they do.”

Hubbard likes to put the students in the position where they’re the teachers. They learn how to think critically as writers and to look not just at their peers’ writings but other students’ writings. It’s just one of the ways she creates activities that expose scholars to new experiences and makes learning accessible for everyone.

“Mrs. Hubbard is an amazing educator who is dedicated to the growth and development of scholars at Aspire Charter Academy in and out of the classroom,” said Principal ReNae Robinson. “Our scholars often refer to her as their ‘favorite’ teacher. This is because she helps them to grow as leaders, makes learning relatable and fun while preparing them for life outside of the classroom. She is highly respected throughout the building as a leader and mentor for others. She always has a yes in her heart for service and makes everyone around her better.”

Keep up the excellent work, Mrs. Hubbard!

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About Aspire Charter Academy:
Aspire Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Gary, Indiana, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

Visit Aspire Charter Academy's blog to read more stories like this.