San Antonio teacher goes above and beyond to teach students about empathy, tolerance

SAN ANTONIO – Lisa Barry’s commitment to education and her students has gained statewide recognition after being named as one of three finalists for the 2021 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Barry is a 5th grade teacher at Woodridge Elementary School in the Alamo Heights Independent School District.

About 17 years ago, she started what she calls the tolerance project during her time at Navarro ISD.

Barry said she noticed children being bullied in her classroom and needed a way to address it.

“And I started using the children of the Holocaust to teach them empathy and how to be civic-minded and how to not be silent, how to not be bystanders,” she said during a Q&A segment with KSAT.

The tolerance project has now evolved into not only teaching about the Holocaust, but also teaching the children about Black history and Mexican-American history.

Barry was instrumental in pushing for a state law requiring Holocaust education in all public schools.

The tolerance project is one of the reasons she was nominated for Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.

“Tolerance involves lots of other ethnicities and different cultures, different religions. And we just try to encompass every everybody,” Barry said.

You can watch Barry’s full interview in the player above.

RELATED: Implementation plan for new law mandating Holocaust education in public schools

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