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World-Class Educators Share About the Teachers Who Inspired Them
Educators have a profound impact on the lives of the students and families they serve. A dedicated teacher who positively connects with a child can be the inspiration that changes the trajectory of a child's life for the better. EMS ISD is full of world-class educators who are who they are today because of a teacher they had while in school, or because of a colleague who inspires them. These are their acknowledgments:
Dr. Jim F. Chadwell, Superintendent, recognizes Mrs. Morgan, his kindergarten teacher at Sam Rosen Elementary School. "She taught me and my two sisters. She always showed she cared and had high expectations for me. Kindergarten can be scary, but she always made me feel safe and cared for."
Haley Griffin, speech language pathologist at Bryson Elementary School, recognizes Mrs. Sylvia Carley, her 4th grade teacher at Bethesda Christian School. "Mrs. Carley went above and beyond the role of being a teacher. She was a model of what it looked like to be a caring, compassionate, justice-seeking, and loving person. I admired her and felt loved by her, as her student and after the fact. She sought connection with her students rather than just training."
Kayla Malins, paraprofessional at Lake Pointe Elementary School, recognizes her colleague, Allison Bombardier, who teaches special populations at Lake Pointe. "Allison is a patient, caring, but also strong leader. She has taught me not only techniques for the classroom but confidence in bettering my personal education."
Dhruv Bhatt, social studies teacher at Marine Creek Middle School, recognizes Mr. John "Ty" Kelly, his social studies teacher at Edward S. Marcus High School. "Mr. Kelly made me the teacher I am today. He didn't know it, but it was him that made me want to become a teacher and I modeled myself after him."
Lindsey Metz, education and training instructor at Hollenstein Career and Technology Center, recognizes Ms. Denise Stepp, her dance/drill team director at Azle High School. "She was the one who inspired me to become a teacher. She not only taught us dance technique and precision, but she taught us how to be young ladies and model respect. I always had a lot of support at home, but I watched her help her dancers who didn't have as much support at home make plans for after high school, fill out college applications, etc., and help her students reach to achieve more than they thought possible for themselves."
Jay Freeman, math teacher and coach at Boswell High School, recognizes Dr. Charles Cantrell, his teacher at South Garland High School. "[He] greeted me each day as a student, provided me with ways to better myself, mentored me as a young teacher [and] supported me in my professional/personnel decisions as a coworker."
Megan Holder, teacher at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Mr. Jeff Oster, her 8th grade history teacher at Pike Middle School. "Mr. Oster opened my mind to the power of knowledge. He was kind, patient and really took the time to grow a relationship with all of his students. It was the first classroom where I felt the need to do well because I didn't want to let my teacher down. Mr. Oster gave me the confidence I needed to become a lifelong learner, and his impact on my life is everlasting."
Stacy Gutierrez, first-grade teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School, recognizes Mrs. Boykin, her 7th grade ELAR teacher at Watertown Junior High (South Dakota). "Mrs. Boykin was a seventh-grade reading teacher that fostered my love of writing and research. She always made reading and class discussions so meaningful. I, to this day, love research, writing, and debate because of her."
Sierra DeHart, ELAR teacher at Creekview Middle School, recognizes her colleague, Ms. Jodi Brownlee, who also teaches ELAR at Creekview. "My first year teaching was also the year everyone was teaching hybrid because of Covid. There were plenty of times that year that I felt like I was drowning in the middle of the ocean without any help in sight. However, anytime this feeling began to overpower my passion for teaching, there was Jodi Brownlee with a lifejacket and a boat. She somehow knew without me having to ever tell her when I needed help. She is a fantastic role model to all teachers and students. I am so thankful that I still get to teach with her, and learn from her."
Deana Kilburn, math teacher at Highland Middle School, recognizes Mr. Scott Pohl, her 10th grade astronomy teacher at Chester W. Nimitz High School. "He encouraged me to do my best and he always spoke words of affirmation."
Chris Brown, astronomy teacher at Saginaw High School, recognizes Mr. Kelvin Dilks, his 10th grade world history teacher at Haltom High School. "Mr. Dilks' rigid structure and highest of expectations helped prepare his students for life beyond school. He taught us how to think critically and how to think for ourselves. He taught with compassion and consequences. Most importantly, he showed us how to treat others with respect and decency. His commitment to education is relentless, and the world is a better place with teachers like Mr. Dilks."
Rachel Collier, seventh-grade science teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes her former teacher and now colleague, Ms. Amanda Livingston, who also teaches 7th grade math at Wayside MS. "Ms. Livingston had a caring heart and WANTED me to do well. She cared beyond the assignments and grades. She cared about me as a human being and answered any question I had, whether it was about life or math. She is now my mentor teacher at the same middle [school] I went to and she is still the most caring and understanding person."
Melissa Brice, second-grade teacher at Dozier Elementary School, recognizes her former teaching team of Ms. Angie Lemons, Ms. Laura Allen, Ms. Dawnelle Butler, and Ms. Leslie Houston at High Country Elementary School. "A decade ago, these ladies on my team infused new life and passion into teaching at a time when I was almost burned out. Through their passion, dedication, humor, and love for others and teaching, God used them to reignite my love for teaching and remember my 'why' and restore my joy. I still love teaching and often think back to them as so many are leaving and remember the difference a group of joyful and seasoned teachers made in my career."
Leslie Metz, Education and Training Instructor at Hollenstein Career and Technology Center, recognizes her daughter's first-grade teacher, Leslie Aldridge, at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "Every day when my daughter got in the car after school I'd ask how her day was and she'd say something like "Awesome" or "Amazing." When I'd ask what was Amazing about her day she would say "Mrs. Aldridge." As a teacher myself, I loved hearing what a positive impact her teacher had on her learning. She loved going to school and Mrs. Aldridge worked to maintain a positive classroom culture in her attitude, dressing up with the kids, sharing pictures of their day and learning with parents though an app. Her dedication was so apparent. I was so thankful for my daughter's opportunity to be in her class."
Sierra DeHart, ELAR teacher at Creekview Middle School, recognizes second-grade teacher, Kylie Ruthven, at Parkview Elementary School. "Kylie was a great team leader and coworker. She led a team that was all new to the team, and did it gracefully. She provided a safe and structured environment for her students, and always would answer any question we had."
Alfonso Perez, Safety and Security Coordinator, recognizes Computer Business teacher, Annette Brigham, at Canutillo High School. "She saw the talent in us when it came to computers, and she had the passion of computers in her own life. Her passion for teaching us made us want to excel in the class."
Kaycee Deer, eighth-grade teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes fifth-grade teacher, Kathy Luppy, at Foster Village School. "Kathy Luppy was my 5th grade teacher. I will never forget her impact on my life. When learning long division, she taught us the way we were "supposed to do it" (my words, not hers). While working on my homework that night, my dad showed me the way that he did it, which was not the right way. I was sobbing because my dad did math wrong and I couldn't do it that way! So we called her at home, and she explained how we learned, but also that there were many different ways to solve the same problem. So my dad wasn't wrong, we just went about solving it a different way. This has impacted me in so many facets of my life, because there are always many ways to solve a problem. I do my best to honor that legacy every single day in my own classroom."
Conner Walker, teacher at Comanche Springs Elementary School, recognizes second-grade teacher, Kristen Torres, at Comanche Springs Elementary School. "Mrs. Torres was new to our campus this year after completing her student teaching. I have been blown away by her! She is always perfecting her craft and thinking of how to make things better for her students. She has inspired me and encouraged me to continue to grow as an educator! I love working along side someone who cares and loves her students so well!"
Valerie Crowell, sixth-grade teacher at Highland Middle School, recognizes eighth-grade teacher, Roberta Feenley, at Longwood Junior High School. "Mrs. Feeney made me love reading after a long chunk of time when I believed I wasn't a strong reader and I wouldn't read for pleasure anymore. She built a relationship with me that extended beyond the classroom. Years later, when my husband and I went to NY to get married, she attended my wedding. I could never forget her!"
Megan Meyer, seventh-grade teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes music teacher, Helen Ann Stanley, at Baylor University. "Helen Ann Shanley not only helped me become the best musician and flute player I could be, she also helped shape me into a better person. Mrs. Shanley laughed with her students, cried with us, celebrated our achievements, and sat with us in our disappointments. She has invited countless college musicians into her home and into her life, and I am grateful to have had her as a mentor for so long."
Christopher Rodela, ISS Monitor at Prairie Vista Middle School, recognizes art teacher, Amanda Rager, at Prairie Vista Middle School. "Encouraging words and an endless dedication to her craft made Mrs. Rager an inspiration to me. Her positive daily outlook gave me hope for my own future. I'm blessed and privileged to have met her."
Lance Brownlee, teacher/coach at Wayside Middle school, recognizes his choir teacher, Marty White, at Lakeview Centennial High School. "She loved us but held us accountable and expected our best."
Christopher Brown, astronomy teacher at Saginaw High School, recognizes his Pre-AP and AP Chemistry teacher, Sandra Whitworth from Haltom High School. "Mrs. Whitworth is the kindest teacher I ever had. Her compassion turned the intimidating subject of chemistry into one of wonder and intrigue. She held us to a high standard, and her commitment to our success helped me gain a deeper appreciation for science. I became a science teacher to help students find their own love of science, the same way she did for me."
Sierra DeHart, ELAR teacher at Creekview Middle School, recognizes assistant principal, Kelly Ramsey at Creekview Middle School. "Kelly always gives acknowledgment of when someone does something great, and I always appreciate that. Teachers don't really hear often when we do a good job, and it means so much to have her not only notice it, but to go out of her way to bring it up and give praise. I have appreciated her positive demeanor this year so much!"
Stephen Sanchez, sixth-grade science teacher at Ed Willkie Middle School, recognizes his Advanced English and SAT prep teacher, Mrs. Wren from Castleberry High School. "Mrs. Wren was one of the nicest, most hard-working teachers I ever had. She encouraged me to be the best version of myself and showed nothing but love for us. She asked me about my future college decisions during my freshman year and I told her I didn't believe I'd ever go to college. She saved my writings over the years, built a portfolio for me, and without me knowing, sent it off to colleges. I became the first person in my family to ever earn a scholarship and go to college. I will be forever grateful to Mrs. Wren for believing me. She changed my life. Without her, I wouldn't be where I am today."
Jenifer Crawford, third-grade math and science teacher at Bryson Elementary School, recognizes Mrs. Martin, her third-grade teacher at Saginaw Elementary School. "Mrs. Martin showed me what it was like to be a TRUE teacher. She exemplified kindness, respect, care, and perseverance. She helped me learn how to stand up for myself respectfully, how to feel loved by someone who wasn't family, and that I could do anything I set my mind to. She instilled a love of learning in me as well as a drive to be better each day. I wanted to impress her with all my choices, which led to me making the best choice in any given situation. She is my all-time favorite teacher."
Christopher Harper, teacher at ADC, recognizes Carl Hazzard, his fifth-grade math teacher at Hill Elementary School. "He took us outside during recess from time to time and played football. He taught us a lot about conflict resolution, accepting outcomes, and embracing everyone's differences."
Virginia Guilbeau, counselor at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Wanda Jensen and Gloria Robinson, her teachers at Ysleta High School. "They encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, encouraged me to apply for college admission and scholarships. Had it not been for their encouragement, I wouldn't have been able to get out of my shell. They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. We all need someone to believe in us and push us out of our comfort zone."
Christopher Harper, teacher at ADC, recognizes Coach Tuggle, his United States History teacher at Martin High School. "He inspired me to become a history teacher. Not many told a story better than him."
Dana Barnes, EMS ISD Chief Academic Officer, recognizes Mrs. LaCroix, her English Language Arts teacher at North Richland Junior High School. "Mrs. LaCroix made me feel special. She didn't give me anything, didn't give me praise, but she made me feel worthwhile. When I asked questions, she listened. When I shared my thoughts, she engaged. When I looked at her with worry, she smiled. I always pretended to be a teacher when I was young. Mrs. LaCroix made me want to become a teacher."
Lisa Fellows, teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Edee Newcomb, her Advanced Spanish III teacher at Boswell High School. "She had such a warm and caring spirit that made everyone feel loved and welcome in her classroom. She always had a smile on her face and wore her empathy on her sleeve. We cared for her because she cared for us."
Melanie Stitt, principal at Watson High School and ADC, recognizes Patti Shipp, Watson High School English teacher. "Patti is a retire/rehire. She is one of the most wonderful people I have ever worked with. At the heart of everything, her relationship with students is first and foremost. She works so hard to make sure all students are successful."
Phoukhong Ramsey, third-grade teacher at Remington Point Elementary School, recognizes Robin Crosthwait, a retired second-grade teacher from Elkins Elementary School. "When I think of a mentor, a teacher who cares, a person who would go above and beyond to help, I always think of Robin Crosthwait. I had the pleasure of working with her at Elkins Elementary. She has a wealth of knowledge. I know her experience, enthusiasm, kindness, and loyalty helped many people, including myself. At the time, I only had a few years of teaching experience. I needed her guidance. Along the way, we collaborated together, supported one another, and became great friends. I will always cherish the years we shared together at Elkins. She was and still is a phenomenal teacher and friend."
Christopher Harper, teacher at ADC, recognizes Custodian Blue, his school custodian while attending Young Junior High School. "I was new to the school and he always checked on me to make sure I was doing OK."
Sydney New, a teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Tracy Stone, an eighth-grade algebra teacher at Wayside Middle School. "Mrs. Stone is one of a kind. She has dedicated more of her life than anyone I know. She will truly take you under her wing no matter what. She has wisdom many should envy."
Adelynn Young, art teacher at Highland Middle School, recognizes Megan Bates, her Kindergarten and third-grade teacher at J.A. Hargrave Elementary School. "Ms. Bates was the reason why I wanted to be a teacher. She was kind and it was so obvious, even at a young age, that she wanted to be there.
Jenifer Crawford, third-grade math and science teacher at Bryson Elementary School, recognizes Mrs. Milligan, her seventh-grade AP/Honors Reading teacher at Wayside Middle School. "Mrs. Milligan saw my love for books and empowered that love through her lessons and unique take on assignments. She would modify assignments so that they better fit with our interests. She would dress up as someone else (complete with a crazy outfit) and teach us new skills and perspectives. She inspired me to take that quirky creativity and apply it to my own career, life, and raising my children. She had a way of bringing whatever we were learning to life and helping us to apply her teachings to our everyday life. She was always a listening ear and a caring heart for all our teenage angst. She is someone I fondly remember because of HER...who she was, how she treated others, and her ability to always be available to pay attention to whatever we were saying. She showed us that she was willing to take the time to listen and care about what we were saying. She inspired me to treat students the way she treated us: with respect, kindness, a listening ear, and a passion for everything we were interested in."
Priscilla Green, seventh-grade math and advisory teacher at Ed Willkie Middle School, recognizes Yvette Correa, her ninth-grade social studies teacher at Edinburg North High School. "She was the best at making students feel seen. She connected with "those" kids and always had an amazing relationship with them as well as every other student in her classes. She had strict boundaries and she was the one teacher who had the respect of every student."
Misty Germaine, EMS ISD Elementary Math Curriculum Coordinator, recognizes Mrs. Martin, her first-grade reading and math teacher at Holiday Heights Elementary School. "Mrs. Martin recognized my love of reading and encouraged me to keep reading. She constantly found new books for me to read and had me go to the upper grades to find books since I had read all of her 1st grade books! 16 years later, she hired me as a 1st grade teacher for that district. I loved Mrs. Martin!"
Courtney Chenault, librarian at Remington Point Elementary School, recognizes Marie Ormand, her third-grade teacher at Ashford Elementary School. "Mrs. Ormand always made me feel special and loved. She was fun and allowed us to do things outside the box (like photography, which I still love to this day). When I became a 3rd grade teacher, I told my students so many stories about Mrs. Ormand. I loved her so much, even as an adult. Then one day, I got a message from her on Facebook. SHE found me! I was stunned and cried that she still thought enough of me, all these years later, to look me up on Facebook. Her name had changed by then but it was so hard not to call her "Mrs. Ormand." Three years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and Mrs. Ormand was diagnosed with cancer around the same time. She had a different type than I did and sadly, she did not make it. It broke my heart. I still see her with her amazing shoes, Dorothy Hamill haircut, her big glasses that changed colors in the light, and her beautiful, comforting smile. I will always see her that way. I loved her so much. I still do."
Teresa Nava-Salazar, principal's secretary at Northbrook Elementary School, recognizes Mr. Squire, her fifth-grade teacher at Mountlake Terrace Elementary School. "Mr. Squire was just a sweet soul. I will never forget him teaching all of the fifth-grade how to play the guitar. I can still play the song he taught us. He didn't have to teach this to us, but he took the extra time to do it, and I thought it was so neat. It made me look forward to going to school each day knowing that this was a part of our learning day."
Audrey Arnold, EMS ISD Executive Director of Elementary Educational Services, recognizes Lashawna Estis, a fourth-grade teacher at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "Ms. Estis is a highly skilled and deeply reflective educator. She affects her students and families through her caring heart and excellent instruction. She believes in the potential of every student and inspires them to grow and achieve their goals and dreams. She is a shining light on her campus. Her servant heart made a personal impact on me and I have witnessed the impact it makes on others."
Kelcie Shanahan, fifth-grade teacher at Eagle Mountain Elementary School, recognizes Dana Hawkins, her first grade teacher at Wellington Elementary School. "Mrs. Hawkins, formerly known as Mrs. Lund, is the reason I went into teaching. From the young age of seven, she made such a positive impact on my life. She celebrated our "wins" with us and always encouraged us to do our best. She cared about each of her students as individuals and loved each of us. I had the opportunity to observe her as a senior in high school and learn from her how to make such a positive impact on children. I cannot thank her enough!"
Molly Cox, counselor at Saginaw Elementary School, recognizes Joybell Schalk, her algebra teacher at Gainesville High School. "She did not give up on me when everyone else seemed to. She believed I could do it, so I learned to believe in myself."
Jeffrey Rachels, teacher at Prairie Vista Middle School, recognizes Dr. Calandra, his 12th grade anatomy & physiology teacher at R. L. Osbourne High School. "After following my older sister through school (I am two years younger than her), I finally had a teacher that did not compare me to her, but said I was just as smart and just needed to start acting like it. He encouraged me to become a teacher later in my life. He taught me I could set my own expectations and have the confidence to achieve goals."
Molly Cox, counselor at Saginaw Elementary School, recognizes Kevin Beall, her choir teacher at Gainsville High School. "Mr. Beall treated every student like they were cool kids. To him, everybody was somebody important. Yes, he taught us music, but he also taught us that everyone is worth getting to know."
Sasha Beavers, who works in Instructional Technology at EMS ISD, recognizes Sharon McLaughlin, her world history teacher at Mesquite High School. "Without her I am not sure I would have ever believed in myself to take risks and go for what I want."
Shawna Bunyard, eighth-grade math teacher at Marine Creek Middle School, recognizes Ms. Ericson, her geometry teacher at LaPorte High School. "She once told me I'd be a great teacher. (At the time, I responded with, 'I'd rather live at the YMCA due to poverty than teach school.') She saw something, though, that I didn't. She let us stand if we were sleepy, she let us interrupt if we were lost, she created a learning environment where we all felt comfortable working hard and making mistakes."
Diana Espinoza, EMS ISD Business Administration Assistant, recognizes Mrs. Mills, her fourth-grade teacher at H.V. Helbing Elementary School. "She taught all subjects but especially music, choir. She truly gave her best self every day to each one of us. She encourages us to always do our best."
Diana Espinoza, EMS ISD Business Administration Assistant, recognizes Mrs. Tate, her high school dean. "I was fearful of her because I heard that if you got in trouble she would be tough on you. I became an office helper and got to know her. She became such a light to me. She even collected dolls like I do. She nominated me for the National Honor Society for three years in a roll. She was always giving me sound advice that I still treasure today."
Katie Munk, counselor at Watson High School and ADC, recognizes Paula Newberry, principles of human services teacher at Wayside Middle School. "Our daughter continues to be blessed by a teacher she had last year, Ms. Newberry. Abbey always spoke fondly of Ms. Newberry, as she did many of her teachers. But as Abbey began high school, she continued to communicate with Ms. Newberry via email and letters. As she tries to figure out what kind of person she wants to be, Abbey keeps going back to "her person", which is Ms. Newberry. We are so very thankful that she loved Abbey for who she is and continues to support her long after she has left her classroom!"
Katherine Kinder, teacher at the Hollenstein Career & Technology Center, recognizes Nicole Schoolcraft, first-grade teacher at Dozier Elementary School. "Miss Schoolcraft has been a huge blessing to our family and so many others. We first met Miss Schoolcraft in 2020, when she taught our son. It was a rough year for her and many other teachers, but she was patient, kind and went out of her way to make sure that her students were growing and progressing. This year, we were so excited to find out that she would also be teaching our daughter. It has been an amazing year for our daughter, and we are grateful for Miss Schoolcraft's love and devotion to her students. We appreciate all of the extra little things that she does for her students to make learning fun and exciting. We will never forget the impact that Miss Schoolcraft had on our kiddos."
Terri Fontenot, eighth-grade reading and language arts teacher at Highland Middle School, recognizes Coach Hill, her 10th grade English and reading teacher at Bridge City High School. "I had a very difficult home life. At times, I had no running water or electricity. I never had a pair of name-brand shoes or jeans. I was on free lunch at a time when we received a green ticket, so everyone knew we were on free lunch. She made sure that I knew that she was so happy with my writing. She was the only teacher that ever gave me hope that I was smart enough to go to college. It took me until my late 20s to begin school, but I never forgot her words of encouragement, 'You are an amazing writer. I would not be surprised if you published a book someday.' Those words stuck in my head in the darkest days of my life and when I want to pursue something difficult, those words are still there. I wish I knew where she was to say thank you! "
Conley Kellogg, floral design teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes her mom, Jamie Stone Kellogg, who taught elementary through high school during her career at Island Christian Academy and W.T. Francisco Elementary School. "The teacher I would like to honor is my mom. She became a public school teacher and won teacher of the year at W.T. Francisco Elementary School in Birdville ISD. She went on to teach at the school I attended in Washington state, Island Christian Academy. We moved around a lot when I was little, so my mom even homeschooled me for a time. She taught me to absolutely love learning, reading, art, history and music. She has a profound passion in the arts and literature and brings excitement to seemingly dull topics. I look to her wisdom every day when I teach. She believes that every child can rise up to high expectations and that is how she ran her classroom. Mrs.Kellogg taught her students to love learning and that education is a worthy pursuit. I would not love to learn if it were not for my mom. I would not have pursued history or art if it was not for my mom, who nurtured my interests and believed in me. Now, I strive to be the teacher my mom was for her students to my own students."
Feydra Gorsline, recognizes Mrs. Ferrante, her fourth-grade and sixth-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School. "Mrs. Ferrante knew that I was a challenging child. I had been to many schools, and I had been passed over by many teachers. She also knew that I was bright and capable, and that I missed out on opportunities to excel because of my behavior and lack of motivation. Mrs. Ferrante challenged me. She gave me advanced work and made sure that I caught the bus every week to our magnet school for gifted students. She also knew that change was difficult for me, and when she was asked to go from teaching a combination 4th/5th class to teaching a combination 5th/6th class, she agreed and helped me make the transition from 4th grade to 6th grade because she was insistent that another year of elementary school was unnecessary and would be detrimental to my learning potential. At our 6th grade promotion, Mrs. Ferrante hugged me and, with tears in her eyes, told me that I could do anything. And I believed her."
Kathleen DeRoussee, a teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Laura Addington, her Spanish teacher at Caddo Magnet High School. "She inspired me to have a love of Spanish culture and the Spanish language."
Brandi Coble, the Dyslexia Therapist at Eagle Mountain Elementary School, recognizes Nancy Kahle, her seventh-grade ELAR teacher at Newkirk Middle School. "She showed me that reading can be fun and guided me to explore different types of books. She made me want to do that for other students."
Alexandra Riley, the second through fifth-grade structured learning environment teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School, recognizes Miranda Redfearn, the kindergarten and first-grade structured learning environment teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School. "Miranda has been an amazing mentor and friend to me the last two years. She is the reason I am still in education. She reignited my passion for teaching, and she encouraged me to pursue Special Education. I am so glad I did! I am extremely grateful to her!"
Dan Russell, assistant principal at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Ronald Pompeii, his Spanish 2 teacher at West Springfield High School. "He always held me to a higher standard than I did myself and he allowed me to fail with an opportunity to grow."
Catherine Peoples, a paraprofessional at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School, recognizes Miranda Redfearn, the kindergarten and first-grade structured learning environment teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School. "Mrs. Redfearn welcomed me into her classroom in January and made my transition from a Kindercare to a public elementary smooth. She helps me when I don't understand things and explains what she needs us to do so that it can be done in a quick and easy manner. She has already taught me so much in just the short time I have been one of her paraprofessionals."
Kathleen Eckert, EMS ISD Director of Compliance and Policy, recognizes Kathy Fain, her Child Development teacher at Western Hills High School. "I had the privilege of being in Mrs. Fain's class in my junior and senior years. I was a very shy and introverted student who liked babysitting. Under the guidance of Mrs. Fain I found my love for education, decided to become a teacher, and began to find my voice. Mrs. Fain's love, support, and generosity set me on the trajectory to find my passion in education."
Tayler Johnson, EMS ISD substitute teacher, recognizes Malia Brooks, a kindergarten teacher at Willow Creek Elementary School. "This teacher has made a tremendous impact on my life, as well as my daughters. She is always going above and beyond, between communication with parents, advocating and pouring her absolute heart into the children. My daughter has had a very rough end of the school year, due to constant panic attacks, but Ms. Brooks is constantly comforting her. She continues to provide a nourishing learning environment for kids that enter her room. She is a blessing to be at WCES."
Veronica Anderson, an Instructional Coach at Greenfield Elementary School, recognizes Lisa Mosier, her kindergarten teacher who now teaches at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "She encouraged me to have a lifelong passion for the Spanish language and culture. She cooked food, showed us films and other things that left such a strong impression that I became a Spanish teacher myself."
Kathleen DeRousse, a teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Mary Penuel, her Spanish teacher at Caddo Magnet High School. "She encouraged me to have a lifelong passion for the Spanish language and culture. She cooked food, showed us films and other things that left such a strong impression that I became a Spanish teacher myself."
Shannon Conners-Casillo, an English teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Ms. Knudson, her eighth-grade English teacher at Hill Creek Elementary School. "Ms. Knudson taught me the joy of craft. Her class was the first one where I experienced success as a writer. We wrote play reviews for a local competition with a large theater in San Diego. My review was in the top 16 of the county! I won two free tickets to a play of my choice. After her class, the writing bug latched on and never let go. Her class was encouraging, challenging and fun. I will never forget this amazing woman who instilled in me a life-long love for writing. Thank you, Ms. Knudson, wherever you are. It takes a magical person to teach middle school; you must have more magic in your pinky than I have in my entire body. I am forever grateful for you."
Shannon Conners-Casillo, an English teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Mr. Johnson, her AP English IV teacher at Santana High School. "I can say so many things about Mr. Johnson from during the time he was my teacher. But I must share how he impacted me as an educator. Right after I got my first teaching job, I emailed Mr. Johnson to share the good news. I asked for any book suggestions that would help me in my teaching career. This is what he wrote back: 'I have always found that the best teaching comes from a deep sense of vocation in teachers who feel called to teach. As I get older, I have found that this deeper calling to teach is what sustains me amongst all the perpetual reinvention of the curriculum. When you feel deluged by all the technical aspects of teaching, just remember what the kids will remember about you is how much you loved them and loved your subject. They are looking for someone who models a rich and meaningful life, someone who can alert them to the beauty of literature and the potential of their own creative minds and hearts...The best advice I can give you is something you already know-how to listen. Leave room in your curriculum for listening to your students. Create an environment where they don't feel judged, where they can be heard and appreciated. Give them that love and respect, and they will do wonders.' I get teary eyed every time I read these words. After 14 years in the classroom, I feel like I finally understand what he was trying to say. Mr. Johnson, I can't thank you enough for the impact you have had in my life. Thank you for everything."
Hollie Whitehill, a paraprofessional at Willow Creek Elementary School, recognizes Debbie Moon, her kindergarten teacher at Eagle Mountain Elementary School. "She and her late husband used to go up in hot air balloons and she always told us we can do whatever we want to do as long as it comes from the heart."
Cheyanne Bittrick, a SPED Aide from Lake Pointe Elementary School, recognizes Terri Haider, a Pre-K teacher at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "The love, patience, fun personality, and having faith at all times. She encouraged me to go from a substitute to a full-time aide and I LOVE IT! She has been one of my biggest supporters throughout this entire process. Mrs Haider is one of the best things to happen to LPE!"
Cheyanne Bittrick, a SPED Aide from Lake Pointe Elementary School, recognizes Amanda Dye, a Resources employee at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "She has made me feel welcomed from day one! She is amazing at what she does! The love she has for every child that walks through the door, she has a heart of gold! Thank you for everything, Mrs Dye!"
Cheyanne Bittrick, a SPED Aide from Lake Pointe Elementary School, recognizes Amanda McCarter, a Resources employee at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "Thank you for being the life of the classroom! You are a great 'class'room-mate! You're the "lobster" we all need!"
Teyonna White, a teacher from Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD, recognizes Ms. Becknell, a second-grade English/Language Arts teacher at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "She has a helping heart and is always willing to be there for staff members!"
Teyonna White, a teacher from Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD, recognizes Mrs. Anderson, a Reading Specialist/Coach at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "She was my mentor for my first year of teaching."
Kayla Adams, a kindergarten teacher at Lake Pointe Elementary School, recognizes Judy Rudolph, her fourth-grade Math and Homeroom teacher at Eagle Mountain Elementary School. "She made me feel welcome when I didn’t know anyone. She made learning fun. She was a kind person."
Wat Harden, the principal at Prairie Vista Middle School, recognizes Kathy Elliott, his eleventh-grade teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School of Engineering Professions. "Mrs. Elliott was more than a teacher to me. Mrs. Elliott's humor and personality made science fun as a high school student. She allowed us to make mistakes and learn from them in a safe and nurturing environment. Because of Mrs. Elliott, my passion for the life sciences grew exponentially. She not only supported me as a student; Mrs. Elliott also supported me as a colleague when I went back to teach life sciences at Dunbar High School."
Brandi Jewett, a fifth-grade Reading/Language Arts teacher at Greenfield Elementary School, recognizes Andrew Fletcher, a ninth-grade Human Geography teacher at Saginaw High School. "Mr. Fletcher has impacted my son’s life greatly! He allows students to have lunch in his room, has fun testing shirts, has Saturday AP prep days with donuts and fun activities. He has built relationships with both my children, who think of him, smile and have nothing but good things to say."
Stacie Pence, a Special Education teacher with TEAMS, recognizes Andrea Stark, an occupational therapist in Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD. "Over the last 5 years, I have been blessed to have worked with Mrs. Andrea Stark. I realize that her job as an OT is often overlooked and is not always recognized by others. Her job title does not say teacher or educator, however, that is exactly what she is. She has guided me and has taught me to look at challenges differently and the approach to solving a single problem in different ways. I follow her teachings in my everyday life and she has made a great impact on my life. I want to publicly thank and recognize Mrs. Stark for the difference she has made with me and most importantly our EMSISD students. She has taught me how to see our students' needs differently and how to work with them in a purposeful way. Watching her do what she loves and watching her make a difference in the lives of others is an incredible experience. Andrea inspires me to the best version of myself and I strive to have the strength and passion that she exemplifies in her everyday life. Her dedication and forward thinking has impacted me as a teacher. It is challenging to put into words. She has walked with me through some of the most turbulent times and, for that, I am eternally grateful."
Lee Moreno, a retired teacher from Ed Wilkie Middle School, recognizes Gayatri Pandit, a 6th grade Reading/Language Arts teacher at Ed Wilkie Middle School. "I accepted an LTS RLA position at EWMS. Gayatri was a team teacher. She went out of her way to help and support me for the seven weeks I taught RLA. Her collegiality and willingness to support me was invaluable to me. She gave her personal time to provide me with campus information and processes. Gayatri is an asset to EWMS and teaching."
Duane Fish, the Director of Student Services at the Central Administration Building, recognizes Jim Daily, his Geometry and Calculus teacher at Galesburg-Augusta High School. "Mr. Daily made math FUN! Plain and simple..."
Eugene Holz, a General Maintenance employee with John L Price Maintenance, recognizes Mrs. Pat Mitchell, his fourth-grade teacher at Guy Webb Elementary School. "This was the teacher that understood me and showed me unconditional love. She made it a point to prove to me that I had value."
Stuart Spoon, a Percussions Director at Boswell High School, recognizes Alan Reed, his sixth through twelfth-grade Band teacher at Cleburne High School. "He saw talent and possibilities with me where others saw a discipline issue."
Kara Henderson, a teacher at Parkview Elementary School, recognizes Martha Renfroe, her PreK-12 teacher at Central Christian Academy. "Without her influence, I have no idea where I would be today. I had such a terrible home life and she invested in me long after I graduated. She kept in touch with me and encouraged me to keep going to get my college degree. She has the patience of a saint and I'm so thankful for her!"
Lee Moreno, a retired teacher from Ed Wilkie Middle School, recognizes Melissa Beck, a seventh-grade Texas History teacher at Creekview Middle School. "Mrs. Beck met with me several times to share information on teaching Texas History. She willingly shared many resources with me so I could successfully teach Texas History as an LTS at EWMS. I very much appreciate your collegiality and going above and beyond expectations to help me."
Lee Moreno, a retired teacher from Ed Wilkie Middle School, recognizes Audra Price, a sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade Advisor at Creekview Middle School. "Audra Price is an exemplar teacher. She joined CMS in January of 2020 and readily fit into the school culture and school pace. Audra began as the Success Coach for Tier 3 behavior students. And, boy did she intervene! She held students accountable and they sought her out for support. Audra was innovative in her collaboration with students and staff. She often checked on me mid-day to brainstorm solutions for students and staff who needed intervention and support. Audra is a big picture educator and her collegiality is unmatched. Never one to shy away from sharing anything, Audra Price is the true face of excellence in EMS ISD."
Jeannie Cook, a Kindergarten teacher at Greenfield Elementary School, recognizes Dr. Joyce Harden, the Dean of Education at Lubbock Christian University. "Dr. Hardin believed in me and encouraged me to brave different classrooms in two different countries outside of the U.S. She believed that I could teach and made sure that I was ready to meet that challenge."
Sara Blakley, a third-grade teacher at Comanche Springs Elementary School, recognizes Marie McDougal,a second-grade teacher at Bryson Elementary School. "Marie was a co-worker and my children's teacher. She was the most knowledgeable, kind, wonderful person I have ever had the honor of working with. She taught the students how to manage big feelings while bringing out their best qualities."
Sara Blakley, a third-grade teacher at Comanche Springs Elementary School, recognizes Jean Denton, her ninth-grade English teacher at Tascosa High School. "She was tough and loving at the same time. She expected the best from us and really made us feel we had an obligation to be the best we could be."
Robbin Hallford, a teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Dr. Barry McKeown, an undergraduate professor and Dean of Exercise Physiology at the University of Texas at Arlington. "He taught me about how to learn and about upholding a standard of excellence from your students. He never accepted less than our best effort. He made sure we had many opportunities to learn and then teach what we learned. He is an amazing human being and, because of this, stands as my mentor and friend. Our final exam took place as we walked across the stage for our diploma. I will never forget the impact he had on my life and career."
Robbin Hallford, a teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Sharon Sneed, her Typing, Business, and Yearbook teacher at Tishomingo High School. "She taught me skills that I have used throughout my life, how to type and 10-key by touch not sight. How to communicate both in writing and speaking, and how to have an eye for details. More importantly, she taught me the art of listening as a key component of communication, particularly with my students. Of all the classes I took in high school, I found hers to be the most valuable."
Robbin Hallford, a teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes DannaBeth Bowman, an Anatomy and Physiology teacher at Boswell High School. "She is a professional educator to the core. She has the largest educational tool box I have ever experienced and is willing to share that knowledge. She truly cares about her students and they adore her, even when they do not want to, they respect her. It has been an honor to work alongside her this year and learn as much as I can from her vast knowledge."
Jason Beaty, the principal at Eagle Mountain Elementary School, recognizes Tom McCone, his Coach from Wedgewood Middle School. "Coach McCone was the first teacher that I believed was there for me as an individual, not just as a student. He was there to encourage me after my father passed away in October of my 8th-grade year. Coach McCone took the extra time not to check on me as one of his players, but it made me feel that he was personally concerned with how I was doing and I knew if I needed anything he was there for me."
Melissa Dowling, a Pre-K teacher at the Hafley Development Center, recognizes Miss Spotted Bear, her second-grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School. "She made learning so much fun and made everyone in her class feel important and loved. We all thought that we were each her favorite student :)"
Melissa Dowling, a Pre-K teacher at the Hafley Development Center, recognizes Mrs. Simons, her fourth-grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School. "My love for reading blossomed that year because of her!"
Heather Napp, a first-grade teacher at Saginaw Elementary School, recognizes Amy Beasley, a Kindergarten teacher at Saginaw Elementary School. "Mrs. Beasley renewed my hope in the next generation of teachers. She loves her students and makes learning fun. She perseveres and reflects even when times are tough. She is respected by parents and staff. She truly cares for everyone and I have been the recipient more than once. I love her heart and wish her many more years of impacting lives in our community!"
Bill Tippett, a teacher and coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Coach Jimmy Turnbow, his PE/Athletics coach from Randolph High School. "Coach Turnbow knew how to get the most out of every person. He motivated positively, took the time to know each person he was working with, demanded maximum effort (without yelling), and helped you to understand why you were doing an activity/workout. I used the work-outs I did in high school 40 years ago with him to help our distance runners improve their personal records by several seconds each this season. Before I was even aware of the fact that relationships come before results, he was putting it into practice."
Eric Ortega, an Administrations Intern at Willow Creek Elementary School, recognizes Mrs. Gapp, his third-grade teacher from Como Montessori Magnet Elementary School. "Mrs. Gapp was calm and loving; I do not recall ever seeing her mad. Instead, she would scold the class with her eyes, which was enough to know she was upset. Her patience and love in her lessons drove me to appreciate her so much more. I remember as a kid, struggling with fractions and she would tell me "Remember fractions are your friends". I still remember her voice. I truly hated fractions then, but she taught me to love fractions. Mrs. Gapp is the one who inspired me to become a teacher. At the end of 3rd grade, she gave me a book, "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" and wrote me a dedicated message in it. I still have the book on my shelf, and it means a lot to me. It is teachers like her who inspired me to do what I do today!"
Tracy Stone Johnston, an Algebra 1 teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Mrs. Vera Rotramel, her second-grade teacher at Picher-Cardin Elementary School. "Mrs. Rotramel taught me how one individual can make a difference in your life. She was patient and kind to all her students, and she was a wonderful teacher because she could explain every concept to which her students understood."
Tracy Stone Johnston, an Algebra 1 teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Mrs. Delma Miller, her third-grade teacher at Picher-Cardin Elementary School. "Mrs. Miller would hold after-school sessions (long before tutorials were thought of!) and have her students who understood the concepts better, whether it was in Math or English, help those who attended. I loved being in her room. She was a loving and kind person. She loved her students."
Tracy Stone Johnston, an Algebra 1 teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Mrs. Carmen Wade, her Algebra 1 teacher at Picher-Cardin Junior/Senior High School. "Mrs. Wade taught Algebra 1 so well that all the students understood the concepts! She was the best! I always wanted to succeed in Algebra 1 because she made it fun! The impact she made on my life made my decision to become a secondary math education major so easy. I knew I wanted to show students how easy Algebra can be, if taught in a simple way!"
Tracy Stone Johnston, an Algebra 1 teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Mr. Robert Thompson, her seventh and eleventh-grade English Literature teacher at Picher-Cardin Junior/Senior High School. "Mr. Thompson taught English to all juniors in high school. He required us to give oral essays, sing a recorded song, and write a bibliography. He was tough! He was thorough! He was the best! A student had to get 98% in his class to have an "A" average. I worked so hard to achieve that "A" because I wanted to prove to him and to myself, that I knew the material 100%. It was a sad day when he retired."
Estela Garcia, a Curriculum and Instruction Specialist at the Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD Administration Building, recognizes Robin Prevallet, an English as a Second Language teacher at Highland Middle School. "The way she cares for her students. She makes sure they feel welcome in her class, and cares for their individual needs. Teaching is her passion."
Brittany Allison, a fourth-grade Math and Science teacher at Greenfield Elementary School, recognizes Kathryn Ryan and Melissa Buehrer, her eleventh and twelfth-grade Math teacher and her eleventh and twelfth-grade Biology teacher, respectively, from L.D. Bell High School. "Mrs. Ryan and Mrs. Buehrer are two teachers that I think of often. These were educators who cared about their students on a deeper level than just the content they taught. They cared about our personal wellbeing. They built a relationship with each one of their students and I remember how much I enjoyed walking into their classes. Not only was I going to be taught by two ladies who had such a passion for their content, I knew I was loved in their classrooms. They treated us like adults in their classrooms (even though we weren't) and pushed us to be the best we could be. I will never forget those two wonderful teachers."
Heath Dollar, a World Languages/ESL Coordinator at the Central Office, recognizes Paulina Haslet, a second-grade teacher at Grace E. Hardeman Elementary School. "She helped a little boy who had transferred from another district find his way."
Donna Bell, a Purchase Specialist for Operations at the Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD Central Administration Building, recognizes Tracy Stone, a Math/Algebra teacher at Wayside Middle School. "Mrs. Stone taught two of my children. One of my kiddos needed extra support due to being dyslexic and the other was in her advanced classes. Because Mrs. Stone is a one-of-a-kind educator. She was able to give each person exactly what they needed to grow and achieve success. She was exceptional at teaching my child who needed the teacher to sit with her and help her understand, and she was exceptional at teaching my other child who could "get it" the first time and needed to be pushed to think beyond the boundaries. Mrs. Stone is a teacher whose incredible impact will last a lifetime because her students will cherish her forever!"
Marianna Bond, an Assistive Technology Specialist for all of the schools in Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD, recognizes Mrs. W, her ninth-grade English/Language Arts teacher at Bailey Junior High School. "Her creativity in teaching was phenomenal. During a unit on poetry, we studied a lengthy poem about Vincent Van Gogh. It had all the elements that she was trying to teach. It was a fairly interesting poem. Then on the last day of the unit, she put a record on for us...and it was the poem, but set to music! It was titled "Starry, Starry Night" by Don McLean and had apparently been somewhat popular a number of years earlier and none of us had ever heard it before. Suddenly, everything came together that we had been studying! Another unit that was very encompassing was learning to compose a proper paragraph. We spent weeks studying all of the elements. She used a tool to help us called a graphic organizer, which I still use to this day to organize my thoughts for writing. Every student in the class came out with a really good grasp on how to write a thoughtful paragraph and thus, an entire business letter or research paper using proper grammar, sound writing elements, and all of the other elements that make writing not just readable but enjoyable. Finally, this teacher also chose some of us who had great skills for reading aloud to come and make recordings of books that she was using for her lower level readers (those struggling to read). She made her own "books on tape" using our voices in order to assist these students with their ability to decode, increase fluency, and increase comprehension and make reading more enjoyable for them. She was likely the best teacher I ever had and I owe her a great deal!"
Casey Gause, an AP English/Capstone/Psychology teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Mrs. Georanne Farr, her twelfth-grade Dual Credit English teacher at Grand Prairie High School. "Mrs. Farr was tremendously inspirational to me because she perfectly managed to strike the balance between being challenging and being nurturing. In our dual credit senior English course held before first period, she would insist that we think more deeply and become the very best version of ourselves that we could be, but she would also bring us muffins and notice when we got a haircut. Mrs. Farr was an inspiration to me as an educator, but her impact on me as a person has been even more profound."
Mark Hard, the Director of Counseling and Campus Support at the Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD Central Administration Building, recognizes Mrs. Fay, his eighth-grade Science teacher at Azle Junior High School. "While she found a way to make science interesting to a squirrly middle school boy who wasn't interested in the subject at all, what was most impactful to me was the relationship she built. I knew she cared about me and wanted me to be successful! Thank you Mrs. Fay!!!"
Mark Hard, the Director of Counseling and Campus Support at the Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD Central Administration Building, recognizes Rick Griffin, his coach at Azle Junior/Azle High School. "Coach Griffin taught me many life lessons in my time with him on the competition field/court (7th-12th grade). Knowing he saw potential in me when many others didn't always pushed me to give my best effort. I am so thankful for the hours upon hours he spent pushing me and encouraging me to be better for those six years."
Haley Lancaster, a teacher/coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Sarah Thomas, her tenth-grade Junior Varsity Basketball coach at Saginaw High School. "Coach Thomas always pushed me to my full potential, not only on the court, but also in life. She has shaped me into who I am today by teaching me how to work hard, how to be respectful to my elders, and always reminding me to find good in every situation. She is a huge reason why I became a teacher and a coach myself!"
Haley Lancaster, a teacher/coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Courtney Parker, her eleventh-grade AP US History teacher at Saginaw High School. "Mrs. Parker was always there for me in any situation. I could come to her for comfort and advice, and knew that she truly cared about me. She has a way of making all of her students feel seen every single day. She is passionate about her subject and wants her students to become an involved part of society. Her smile always brightened my day."
Haley Lancaster, a teacher/coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Sara Mullins, her twelfth-grade AP Literature teacher at Saginaw High School. "Mrs. Mullins was always so energetic and passionate about what she taught us. She made us feel seen and cared for, and took the time to give us feedback on our work one-on-one. She made her classroom feel welcoming and safe, and always knew how to make us laugh. She truly has been one of the best teachers I have ever had and she made me become confident in my writing skills. She always believed in me and never let me give up before I put up a fight. I modeled my current classroom based on hers because it felt so welcoming and safe!"
Haley Lancaster, a teacher/coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Emily Kelly, her twelfth-grade AP Calculus AB teacher at Saginaw High School. "Ms. Kelly was always so sweet and positive and brightened your day, even if it didn't need brightening. The way she approached teaching math made even those who disliked math enjoy it at least a little bit. She makes every single student in the room feel seen and cared for. I have modeled a lot of my teaching practices based on how she taught and how she truly cared for each of her students."
Haley Lancaster, a teacher/coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Emilee Crawford, her Varsity Volleyball coach and Business Management/Money Matters teacher at Saginaw High School. "Coach Crawford pushed me to my full potential, on and off the court. She taught me how to work hard and how to have passion and desire for something and how to go after it. She was always there for me as a listening ear and a source of safety and comfort."
Haley Lancaster, a teacher/coach at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Holly Adair, an Algebra 1 teacher at Chisholm Trail High School and Department Chair. "Holly was my mentor teacher in my first year of teaching. I came in mid-year as a teacher and she took me under her wing and made me feel welcomed, valued, and important. She never turned me away no matter how many times I went into her room to ask her questions, and always checked in on me if I didn't. Not only was she a great mentor teacher to me, she was a great teacher to her students, and quickly became my best friend at work. Her impact on my first 2 years of teaching has influenced me to want to be my best for my students and the future generations to come."
Laura Watts, an SSA Aide at Lake Pointe Elementary, recognizes Mrs. Beaman, a librarian at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "Mrs. Beaman introduced my 5th grade daughter to a book series to help with her reading homework. My daughter has dyslexia and reading is a chore for her. With her wonderful expertise, she helped my daughter discover that reading can be fun and has been an instrumental part of her success this school year."
Jacqui Reed, a Special Education teacher at Remington Point Elementary School, recognizes Audrey Hudspeth, a first-grade teacher at Wollow Creek Elementary School. "Mrs. Hudspeth was the first positive and helpful person I encountered in EMSISD. She alone gave me the comfort I needed in the uncertain time of COVID and registering my daughter to attend school in EMSISD at Willow Creek Elementary and she was not the first or only person I had reached out to or made contact with. Ashley responded to emails during the summer about my daughter attending first grade, her first time in public education. I asked about initial testing (like is done for kindergarten students since they missed the last 9 weeks of school), she was extremely helpful and responsive. I initially sent an email to the entire first-grade team and she was the only person who EVER responded, even after teachers were back on contract time. My daughter was NOT allowed to come and tour the building even though she had never been enrolled in public school before, as kindergarten students were allowed to do. Mrs. Hudspeth offered to take Jodi on a tour of the building before school started so she would be familiar with what a gym, cafeteria, and a library was. She was denied this opportunity, so Ashley made sure she found Jodi on the first day of school to help her find her way. Mrs. Hudspeth continued to go above and beyond for a first time student by making sure my daughter felt safe, secure and loved. Even now, two years later, she continues to impact Jodi in so many positive ways!"
Katherine Harnish, an AP Language and Composition teacher at Boswell High School, recognizes Mr. Brian Britt, the Director of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band at the University of Oklahoma. "The most influential educator in my life was by far my college marching band director, Mr. Brian Britt. He is absolutely a servant leader, and made a point of instilling in us the importance of setting an example. Wherever we traveled, he reminded us that we were not only representing The Pride, but also our university and state. Mr. Britt had the ability to turn everything into a positive, and band practice was always the part of my day I looked forward to the most. Band shaped who I am as a person, and Mr. Britt is the type of educator I will always strive to emulate. I'll never forget how, in my early days in my first year in The Pride, a group of around 325 members, Mr. Britt said hello to me by name! I was astounded that he had any idea who I was, and later learned that he made a point of studying the names and faces of every band member, learning names and hometowns as quickly as possible. Later on, I learned that I struggled with the nerves of auditions. Mr. Britt took the time every summer to meet with me and help me with my audition music. We essentially had a private lesson and he gave me feedback so that I could prepare for success in the upcoming audition. I even met my husband through The Pride! Ultimately, my College Marching Band days are some of my fondest memories, and that is very much because of the culture and community Mr. Britt created."
Gina Schirico, a second-grade teacher at Elkins Elementary School, recognizes Ms. Bobbie Willingham, her Junior and Senior English teacher at Cotopaxi Academy. "She believed in me and inspired me to chase my dream of teaching no matter what happened."
Shawna Ostlie, a teacher at High Country Elementary School, recognizes Mr. Bill Thetford, her eleventh-grade Math teacher at Boswell High School. "Mr. Thetford was an excellent math teacher. He was also an amazing role model. He treated all students fairly and never tired of answering my many math questions."
Monica Padilla, a Literacy Intervention Specialist at Greenfield Elementary School, recognizes Mandy Miller, a fourth-grade English, Language Arts, and Reading teacher at Lake Pointe Elementary School. "During the years that I taught at Lake Pointe with Mandy any time that I had a question about curriculum or classroom management Mandy always had time to be a thinking partner, and often I would sit in the back of her classroom during a planning period and take notes about how she did teaching. The best thing that I learned from Mandy is that once the students know that you truly love them, they will allow you to speak truth to them and then you can teach them anything. That is where grit and growth live."
Laura Sperling, a teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School, recognizes Amanda Ragsdale, a third-grade teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School. "She is the true vision of the most amazing teacher. She keeps children at the core of what she does. Through all the paperwork and hoops that teachers are required to jump through, I constantly see her going back to her values of being there for the students in all aspects. Each child is such a special individual and she treats them as such. Amanda is a role model! I want to teach with the same “why” as her."
Macy King, a second-grade teacher at Remington Point Elementary School, recognizes Morgan Newton, a Kindergarten teacher at Elkins Elementary School. "As a fellow teacher, Ms. Newton inspires me daily with her love and passion for teaching. She truly cares about her students and the impact she is making on future generations. I love hearing about how her school year is going when we meet up each week to celebrate our journey in education!"
Macy King, a second-grade teacher at Remington Point Elementary School, recognizes Laura Hrabal, her first-grade teacher at Gilliland Elementary School. "Mrs. Hrabal was my first grade teacher back when I attended Gilliland Elementary. I will never forget the way she made learning fun! One example was when we were learning about winter and she created an ice skating rink in the classroom by attaching wax paper to our shoes. She always kept us engaged. Her passion for teaching was so contagious it led me to become a teacher nearly 20 years later. I love getting to work along side my favorite teacher and continue to learn from her when she comes to our campus for literacy PLCs. Thank you Mrs. Hrabal for being an amazing educator and mentor."
Amber Poynter, a teacher at Willow Creek Elementary School, recognizes Laurie Raney, a fourth and fifth-grade English, Language Arts, and Reading teacher at Willow Creek Elementary School. "Laurie Raney was my first true partner in teaching. I could not imagine sharing my students with anyone else. Over the last 7 years, she continues to inspire me daily with her commitment, passion, and, most of all, selfless love for our kids. Anyone would be lucky to call her teacher."
Ashley White, a teacher at Chisholm Trail High School, recognizes Susan Wilson, a third-grade teacher at Eagle Mountain Elementary School. "Mrs.Wilson is an absolute blessing! She is incredibly patient and kind. My son says that she is "stellar" and "amazing"! We are so grateful for all of her time and commitment to her students."
Shelly Couch, an Eagle Mountain PACE at Eagle Mountain Elementary School, recognizes Diane Winans, a fourth-grade Reading teacher at Eagle Mountain Elementary School. "Diane Winans is a true legend in our district. I taught next to Diane for 6 wonderful years, and our friendship continued until her death in 2018. Every day was an adventure. Although Diane's title was 4th grade reading teacher, she did much more than that. Diane instilled a "love of literature" for each and every student that walked through her door. That, in itself, is priceless! She made books truly come alive with extra activities and made 4th grade a memorable experience for all. Not only did she have an impact on students, but she inspired teachers with her unique humor and passion for education. Diane's generosity was immeasurable. Often she would leave inspirational notes or gifts in all the staff's mailboxes. A few years ago, Eagle Mountain named the school library after Diane. What a fitting honor for everyone's favorite teacher!"
Melissa Locey, a Kindergarten teacher at Northbrook Elementary School, recognizes Danielle Finch, a Kindergarten teacher at Northbrook Elementary School. "As a student teacher, Finch invited me into a world that I could never imagine. Expectations, structure, grace, love and FUN!! She then welcomed me to her team as a first year teacher. She has blessed me inside the classroom as a fellow teacher, in the halls with a smile I needed and beyond the walls as a friend!! I am grateful beyond measure to her!"
Elizabeth Gutierrez, a second-grade bilingual teacher from Remington Point Elementary School, recognizes Dr. Celia Gentry, her fifth-grade bilingual teacher from H.V. Helbing Elementary School. "Dr. Gentry inspired me to become an educator. I was a newcomer and she encouraged me to learn regardless of language. I still remember that one day in 5th grade when she decided to take me to tour the university she once attended. As we toured around the campus, she took me to the library to show me a book she had written [her thesis at Texas Woman’s University]. I never forgot her nurturing ways of teaching and her positive words “you’ll be the best” and “you can”. Today, I still consider her my favorite teacher. Not sure what she saw in me…perhaps she saw potential in a young girl who didn’t see college in her future. I am glad to say that I also attended TWU. While attending there, I remembered to search for the book she once showed me. Once again, I opened the sticky-yellowed pages of the old-looking book with her name imprinted. That is when I realized I also wanted to be an educator. Years have passed and though I didn’t have the opportunity to see her again, I am proud to say I am a bilingual educator who WILL make an impact just like Dr. Gentry IMPACTED me."
Luke Bruton, a teacher from Highland Middle School, recognizes Myrna Dean, a sixth through eighth-grade Family and Consumer Science and Art teacher at Highland Middle School. "My mentor for my first year as a teacher. She always encourages me and allows me to vent my frustrations to her. She also helped me get my teaching certificate by observing me throughout the year and giving me advice on how to handle situations. I appreciate having such a dedicated and hard-working mentor to look up to."
Allena Waters, a Special Programs Coordinator at the Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD Administration Building, recognizes Pam Rennick, her fourth-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary School. "I've often reflected on the impact Ms. Pam Rennick made on me and so many of my classmates, wondering what specifically she did to make 4th grade such a great experience. The one thing I come back to every time is the way she made me FEEL. While I am certain she was a wonderful reading teacher, her greatest power as an educator came from making her students feel heard, important, and special. As a child, I was certain I was her favorite simply because she treated me as such. However, as I remember the times in her class, I can see how she made my friends feel the same way, and we've all had this discussion amongst ourselves at class reunions. I truly believe this to be the mark of an outstanding educator...someone that can impact you so deeply that you remember, after many years, how great it felt to learn and grow in your time with them."
Sydney New, a teacher at Wayside Middle School, recognizes Rachel New, an English teacher at Boswell High School. "My mom is the reason I decided to become a teacher, and came back to EMSISD as a teacher. I would stay after school with her at BOS when I was a student at Eagle Mountain Elementary. My little eyes were fascinated. She had true joy in her job, and you could tell. Her wisdom and kindness always followed her where ever she went. I have never met a person without something wonderful to say about her. Her legacy is one I am proud to follow."
Katie Keyes, a teacher and Student Council Advisor at Boswell High School, recognizes Carlene Gibbs, a Social Studies and Yearbook teacher at Sands High School. "Mrs. Gibbs was an amazing example of the teacher that I hope I am today. She worked hard to ensure that we learned the material, produced a good yearbook, and a bunch of other things on campus, but she worked just as hard to develop positive relationships and ensure that we were better people because of her influence. She taught the same students from 6th grade to 12th grade in this small Texas town for a lot of years...and had a large influence on every student she taught!"
Leslie Thomas, a CTE teacher at Creekview Middle School, recognizes Mrs. Ronda Boen, an eighth-grade Social Studies teacher at Creekview Middle School. "She has been a strong support system my first year on this campus. Even as a veteran teacher, I watch and learn from her daily. Her strong style and high expectations are remarkable when she says things with the sweetest voice."
Courtney Parker, an AP US History teacher at Saginaw High School, recognizes Zoe Ann Azzi, her eleventh-grade teacher at Newman Smith. "The reason I have become a teacher. She showed me what teaching is truly about; caring for the students and their learning. She is the reason I am who I am today."
Melissa Locey, a Kindergarten teacher at Northbrook Elementary School, recognizes Martina Snyder, a Kindergarten teacher at Northbrook Elementary School. "Snyder was a first-year teacher and quickly showed the ability of an experienced teacher. She has been an encourager and great for a laugh. I have enjoyed working with her. She has upped my technology game and is great at making my visions a reality on screen or paper. I am a better educator because she is on my team."
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