Fantastic Fifth Grade

We have 63 collective years of teaching experience!

5th Grade Teacher Strengths

Based on the book study and aptitude test from the book Teach With Your Strengths, the 5th grade team is strongest in the following areas:

Input, Discipline, Restorative, and Developer.

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Mr. Wilborn- 5th grade bilingual curriculum and instructional specialist

Mr. Wilborn began his adventures into the world of teaching as a Spanish tutor to fellow undergraduates at the University of Southern Mississippi. While attending college, he worked as the Workplace Injury Project coordinator as a translator and workers' compensation case manager as well as taught adult English as a Second Language classes at the workers' center, MPOWER.

With a bachelor of arts in Foreign Languages and Literature (Spanish) and an itch to explore beyond his hometown in Mississippi, Mr. Wilborn began his life as a bilingual teacher at Bernice Hart Early College Prep Elementary. He has been a teacher at Hart for 8 years in Kindergarten, First, and Fifth grades. Mr. Wilborn received his Masters degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education at the University of Texas at Austin in December 2015. He uses what he has learned from his classes to better his instruction in math as well as deliver crucial hands-on and inquiry-based science lessons in the science lab for 5th grade scholars.

Mr. Wilborn is the Gifted and Talented program Campus Advocate and GT Assessor. It is his responsibility to ensure that proper services and challenging opportunities are provided to Hart's gifted and talented scholars. Parents are welcome to visit the GT Parent Corner for more information about the program.

Mr. Wilborn's strengths include Input, Command, Learner, Activator, and Strategic.

  • Input: Mr. Wilborn is an idea generator. He inputs his time and energy into understanding how scholars best learn content and plans lessons accordingly. His willingness to share his creative lessons and ideas helped him earn Teacher of the Year for the 2012-2013 academic year.
  • Command: Mr. Wilborn is a leader. He received a full scholarship from his undergraduate alma mater for community leadership. It is important to Mr. Wilborn that teachers are strong leaders and models for their young scholars and other teachers on the campus.
  • Learner: Mr. Wilborn is a self-identified nerd. He loves reading, exploring in nature, and taking classes and workshops. His mother always taught him that riches can be lost or stolen, but no one can take away knowledge.
  • Activator: Mr. Wilborn does not like idle time. He needs to be going, going, going! Activators help others tackle challenges head-on in order to find a solution.
  • Strategic: Along with Mr. Wilborn's need to go, go, go, he needs to work strategically and efficiently. It is important to Mr. Wilborn that there is not much wasted time in the classroom or during planning sessions. "Work smart, not hard!"
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Ms. Watts- 5th grade ESL teacher and team leader

Ms. Watts is a graduate of Texas State University. Ms. Watts has been teaching for 18 years and for 16 years has been teaching at Bernice Hart Early College Prep. She loves teaching fifth grade and watching her students learn and share their knowledge with others. In her classroom she strives for all students to be successful in their learning. They build on their strengths daily so they can continue to excel as problem solvers and critical thinkers.

Ms. Watts' strengths from the book Teach With Your Strengths are:

  • Discipline
  • Responsibility
  • Arranger
  • Focus
  • Consistency


Teacher of the Year 2004

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Mr. Thorsen- 5th grade dual language teacher

Mr. Thorsen began his teaching career some 11 years ago. He arrived at Hart Elementary to teach 4th grade Dual Language in 2014. He has previously taught 1st , 3rd as well as 4th grade. In any grade Mr. Thorsen has always encouraged a safe and respectful environment for student learning at the highest level. Mr. Thorsen grew up in South America and has always incorporated culturally relevant elements into his classroom to make it a space for inclusion and acceptance for ALL students and parents.

Mr. Thorsen graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Economics. He has done extensive social and volunteer work in Peru where he also worked as a credit officer. More recently, here in Austin he has worked for Dell Computers, but it was in teaching where he found his calling.

Mr. Thorsen’s strengths are:

  • Restorative: Mr. Thorsen loves to solve problems. This is something that he can be energized by and he enjoys the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution.
  • Learner: The love to learn. This is perhaps the truest of Mr. Thorsen’s strengths. The subject matter that interests him most will be determined by different themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, he will always be drawn to the process of learning. This process is especially exciting and energizing for him and to be able to share it with students and colleagues is truly a gift.
  • Responsibility: Mr. Thorsen takes ownership of his commitments. Dependable and always willing to volunteer Mr. Thorsen is ready to lend a hand to get the job done. He drives for high ethics making no excuses, right is right.
  • Input: Mr. Thorsen is inquisitive and stays informed with excitement for the infinite variety and complexity the world offers. He seeks to transmit that experience unto his students always.
  • Context: Experience is greatly valued in determining the path and to make better decisions. Without ignoring the new and vital ideas in Education, Mr. Thorsen will always seek clarity and structure as his companions.

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Mr. Torres- 5th grade dual language teacher

Mr. Torres has been teaching for more than 20 years. With a Bachelor degree in engineering, Mr. Torres found himself in love with the education field while taking English classes following his teacher’s recommendation. Now, he has been teaching 5th grade for more than two decades! Through all this time he has been able to teach, help, and learn in so many different ways, from and for the students.

His strengths as a teacher include: Deliberate, Developer, Relator, Responsibility, and Restorative.

  • Deliberative: People strong in the deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles. He relates with this strength in so many ways. He can see the effect of it with all of his students and the way he sees them. He likes to help them to think through their decisions before moving ahead too quickly.
  • Developer: People strong in the developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements. He really enjoys helping/guiding his students to be successful in/with their lives. He has noticed his students' progress and he likes to help them to become even better at what they do.
  • Relator: People who are strong in the theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal. As a relator he likes to work hard to accomplish his goals. This is something that he really expects his students’ learn from him. When you work hard you are closer to achieving your goals.
  • Responsibility: People strong in the responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty. The strength that he identifies with the most. He is a really responsible person. He likes to have his “assignments” done on time, but at the same time he doesn’t like to rush it. Students need to know the difference between “get it done and get it done and correctly”. He likes trying to work on and teach them about it!
  • Restorative: People strong in the restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it. His students may be able to notice this strength in him. He can see when they are in trouble or when there is a problem related with them. He likes to talk with their parents and talk about their problems. At the end, you will never be able to solve the problem if you don’t identify the cause.

Ms. Troegle- 5th grade dual language teacher