BELLMEAD, Texas (FOX 44) – La Vega Intermediate School 4th-grade dual-language teacher received a big honor Tuesday, and he had no idea was coming.

Out of 12 counties in Education Service Center Region 12, ESC chose Lorenz Villa for the Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

“It’s very humbling,” Villa said. “It’s very humbling because there are thousands of teachers out there who deserve this.”

Those teachers over the last 28 years of his career being one of the reasons Villa has gotten to this point.

“I become a good teacher through other teachers because you learn you learn on the job,” Villa said.

He says teachers need to teach their students knowledge and integrity because children develop their morals and values when they’re growing up.

“To me the highest value is to love each other,” Villa said.

What stood out about him was not only his dedication to his students but his students’ families.

“Working with families to establish relationships and work with kids on their journey, not just their school journey, but their life journey,” ESC Region 12 Communications Director Jennifer Marshall-Higgins said.

Villa has a lot of different backgrounds and past experiences that he uses now in his teaching. He was in the air force for 6 years and a missionary for 9 years.

“I literally went into communities in Reynosa and Mexico City where you had to develop relationships with the whole family and gain trust in order to help them,” Villa said.

He says teaching is so necessary today because in some ways society is in a crisis and torn apart where people don’t know how to communicate through their differences.

“The things that challenge us in the 21st century now are huge, and the solution is teachers,” Villa said.

The ESC Region 12 secondary teacher of the year will be announced later this month.