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Texas Teacher Of The Year Eric Hale Shares His Passion

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Hales is this week's The Ones For Texas honoree.

Video Transcript

- North Texas teacher made history during the school year. Our Steve Pickett talked with Eric Hale, a Dallas educator working to make sure that he's not the only person like him to receive recognition for his dedication to children. It's our Ones for Texas today.

STEVE PICKETT: It is a party with a purpose inside DJ E-Love's classroom.

ERIC HALE: I don't hide my passions. And so one of my biggest passions is music. I need more energy.

STEVE PICKETT: His real name is Eric Hale. And that championship belt he wears is also one of his over-the-top tools used to engage and to ignite six- and seven-year-olds all inside Northwest Dallas's Burnett Elementary School, children who've seen fear poverty and violence just like their teacher.

ERIC HALE: There was addiction issues in my house. There was mental issues in my house. Throughout elementary school, I was in and out of battered women's shelters. All right, let's put eight here.

STEVE PICKETT: Hale uses his own life journey as fuel for motivating and building his students in this classroom. The state's School Administrators Association awarded Hale Texas's teacher of the year, then acknowledged no other Black man in the state had ever received the same distinction.

ERIC HALE: I'm the first African-American male to receive this award, to be honored or recognized. But I'm not the first who deserved it.

STEVE PICKETT: It's been said you acknowledge what you value. So what does it say when you find out that Eric Hale is the first Black man in this state to receive teacher of the year? Well, DJ E-Love sees it as a teaching moment for his kids. Greatness comes despite the circumstances.

ERIC HALE: My teaching style comes from not what I received when I was going through my public school education, but what I needed. I didn't have the type of teacher that I'm trying to be. You don't need more Eric Hales. What you need is more passionate educators that lead with love.

STEVE PICKETT: In Dallas, Steve Pickett, CBS 11 News.

- Amen, amen, amen. Today also kicks off National Teachers Appreciation Week, by the way. Dallas PD taking time earlier today to honor Hale for his historic achievement in the classroom and the community.