Frostwood 2013 Teacher of the Year - Jean Posey

Jean Posey
Frostwood Elementary
First-Grade Teacher

Education: University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education/Kindergarten Endorsement, 1973, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Undergraduate Courses 1968-69

Teaching History: Frostwood Elementary School, First Grade, 2005-2013, Frostwood Elementary School, Prekindergarten, 1996-2005, Edgewood Elementary School, Prekindergarten, 1990-1996, Spring Shadows Elementary School, Kindergarten, 1973-1987

In her own words: “In my 36 years of teaching, I feel my greatest accomplishment has been that I have provided my children a happy, positive and enriched learning environment and, in return, each child has been instilled with an attitude that they can accomplish their dreams, too!”

“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart. When I first read this, I felt that this was what my philosophy was all about.”

In the words of others: “Children ‘love’ school and learning with Mrs. Posey. Each day, they look forward to the challenging and exciting activities planned for them. Even more importantly, each child feels successful, capable and happy while working with Mrs. Posey.” Evelyn Clark, Ed.D., Retired SBISD Principal

“Mrs. Posey’s dedication to the students and staff of Frostwood Elementary is only surpassed by that of her own family. Her passion for developing well-rounded future leaders is guiding Frostwood Elementary into its next 50 years of excellence.” Ellen Green, Frostwood Elementary Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Supervised Student Teachers, Spring Shadows Elementary
Team Leader, Prekindergarten/Kindergarten/First Grade
Campus Improvement Team, 2011


Spring Woods Middle 2013 Teacher of the Year - Kezia Carvajal

Kezia Carvajal
Spring Woods Middle School
English/Language Arts, Grade 6-8

Education: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Master of Science in Elementary Education, 2007, University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Arts in English, 2004

Teaching History: Spring Woods Middle School, English/Language Arts, Academic & Pre-Advanced Placement, 2010-Present, Gallegos Elementary School, Houston ISD, Reading, Grade 4, 2009-2010, Taft Junior High School, Taft ISD, Writing and Reading Teacher/ESL Teacher, Grade 4, 2006-2009, Multiple Schools, Austin ISD, Substitute, Prekindergarten to Grade 8, 2004-2005

In the words of others: “She has done an outstanding job working with our diverse population of students from many different countries and school experiences. She works not only with the students in our school, but also with parents as she understands the importance of these relationships. Mrs. Carvajal is bilingual and can talk to parents who may not be English speakers and help them be comfortable with our school.” Spring Woods Middle Principal Karen Liska

“She challenges her students in a way they feel is more comfortable. Not once has she ever let a student feel like they couldn’t do something. Encouraging is a word that really describes her in many ways.”

“Her expectations for her students are hard but helpful. As her student, she is my role model. I look up to her in so many ways. She’s talented, has an amazing sense of humor, very intelligent and is an incredible teacher. We are all so proud of her hard work that she has been doing this year and that she will continue to do!” Daisy Ortega, Spring Woods Middle 8th Grade Student

Selected Honors, Recognitions & Activities:
Spring Woods Middle School Teacher of the Year, 2012-2013
Spring Woods Middle School Teacher of the Year Runner-Up, 2011-2012
English Language Arts Middle School Curriculum Writer, 2012


Hollibrook 2013 Teacher of the Year - Headiyeh Matthews

Headiyeh Matthews
Hollibrook Elementary
Fifth-Grade Master Teacher

Education: Brock University, Hamilton, Canada, Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, 2007, York University, Toronto, Canada, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, 2006

Teaching History: Hollibrook Elementary School, Fifth Grade, 2012-2013, Hollibrook Elementary School, Fourth & Fifth Grades, Fourth Grade Math & Science, 2008-2012, Spring Branch ISD, Substitute Teacher, 2007-2008

In her own words: “My greatest contribution to education is my steadfast belief that every student can learn. Creating an inclusive classroom where all students believe in themselves and realize their full potential, strive to always better themselves, are problem solvers, responsible citizens and lifelong learners is my mission as a teacher. I create such an environment by placing great value on education and discussing our district mission of T-2-4 with my students.”

“Many of my students have not had the experiences that other school-aged children have had so I try to open their eyes to see a world outside of what they know…I share stories of my childhood growing up in Canada, like the snow that I would play in during our harsh winter months, what school was like for me and the challenges I was faced with in high school when it came to learning, and how I overcame those challenges.”

“The greatest reward I find in teaching is seeing my students grow academically, socially and emotionally. I have been fortunate enough to loop with my fourth-grade classes to fifth grade. Over the span of two years with my group of students, I have seen growth, maturity and the development of great self-confidence.”

In the words of others: “To Headiyeh, teaching is not just about the academics, it is also about growing the whole child. Headiyeh sees her profession as a calling to advocate for all students. She chooses to work at a high at-risk campus knowing that our students have a variety of needs, which are not only about the academics. Headiyeh knows that to reach our students, we must work with parents and help them develop parenting skills.” Elsa Delgado, Hollibrook Elementary Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Campus Instructional Leadership Team, 2012-Present
Fifth-Grade Team Leader, 2012-Present
Master Teacher, 2012
Mentor Teacher, 2011-Present
Teacher of the Year Nominee, Hollibrook Elementary, 2008-2012


Bendwood 2013 Teacher of the Year - Delyar Pace

Delyar Pace
The Bendwood School
First Grade Teacher

Education: Grand Canyon University, Online Degree Program, Master’s in Education, 2008, University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, 2002

Teaching History: Bendwood School, Preschool Special Education, 2008-Present, Hohl Elementary School, Houston ISD, Life Skills, 2005-2008, Hohl Elementary School, Houston ISD, First Grade, 2004-2005

In her own words: “I believe that there is a teacher hidden somewhere deep inside of every single one of us! We can all think back to different situations where we had to explain something – how to ride a bike, help someone fill out an application… being a teacher comes naturally to all of us at one time or another. Some decide to embrace the calling.”

In the words of others: “She exemplifies excellence in teaching on a daily basis. Her devotion to her CUBS specialized program students, her positive attitude in and out of the classroom, and her willingness to give 150 percent to everything she sets her mind to is why our staff voted to give her the special honor of Bendwood Teacher of the Year!” Jana Bassett, The Bendwood School Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Teacher of the Year, The Bendwood School, 2008-2009


Tiger Trail 2013 Teacher of the Year - Reyna Romay

Reyna Romay
Tiger Trail School for Early Learning
Prekindergarten Bilingual Teacher

Education: Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Bachelor of Arts in Education, 1984

Teaching History: Tiger Trail School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten Bilingual, 2001-Present

In her own words: “It is my dream to be able to supply children with the tools to be able to do well later on in life. What gets me up in the morning is the fact that anything I say or do could have a positive impact on a student’s life.”

In the words of others: “Ms. Romay’s students are consistently courteous and caring of one another. This is an outgrowth of behaviors and expectations she regularly models for them. Interaction between she and her students are warm, positive and cooperative.” Vidal Garza, Tiger Trail School for Early Learning Director

“Her ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching simple and complex concepts to her students is remarkable, as are her class management skills. Her lesson plans are well designed and easy to follow, and her guidance is always kind and nurturing.” Alba Morales, Tiger Trail School for Early Learning Teacher Assistant


Bunker Hill 2013 Teacher of the Year - Amy Sidora

Amy Sidora
Bunker Hill Elementary
First Grade Teacher

Education: Region IV Education Service Center, EC-4 Generalist Alternative Certification Program, 2004, Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2002

Teaching History: Bunker Hill Elementary School, First Grade Teacher, 2005-Present, Armstrong Elementary School, Conroe ISD, First Grade Teacher, 2003-2005, Klein ISD Elementary and Middle School, Substitute Teacher, 2003

In her own words: “Students come in at varying levels for many reasons. They may just have moved to the United States and they are limited in their proficiency. They may have a learning disability. They may or may not have support at home, or they may simply be unmotivated. No matter the reason, the challenge is the same. How will I help them learn?”

“I strengthen the profession by asking myself a question every day: What can I do to love and support each student in my class today? The answer is different each day, and for each child. Every part of my day should reflect that statement. My attitude, planning, management, teaching strategies, professional relationships and any other criteria of my job should reflect the academic, social and emotional growth of each and every child.”

In the words of others: “Amy Sidora is a first-grade teacher who has an innate ability to teach, as well as a love for touching students’ lives in ways I think are rare. In simple terms, when it comes to leading a student to learn, she ‘gets it!’” Valerie Hernandez, Bunker Hill Elementary Principal

“Her classroom is an environment that fosters a lifelong love for learning. In addition, her classroom management, organization, small group instruction, parent communication and use of technology all contribute to her teaching excellence.” Emily Duff, First-Grade Teacher

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Co-chair of Bunker Hill Sunshine Committee, 2011-Present
First-Grade Team Leader, 2008-2011
Bunker Hill Campus Improvement Team, 2008-2010
Teacher of the Year Nominee, 2012


Cedar Brook 2013 Teacher of the Year - Pamella Walker

Pamella Walker
Cedar Brook Elementary
Elementary (2nd & 3rd Grade, 1st Grade ESL & GT)

Education: University of St. Thomas, Graduate Courses, 2001, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX, Master’s in Elementary Education, 1976, University of Houston, Texas Teacher Certification, 1974, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo., Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, 1971, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, undergraduate courses, 1967

Teaching History: Spring Branch ISD, 2nd & 3rd Grades, 1st Grade English as a Second Language and Gifted and Talented, 1995-Present, Alief ISD, Kindergarten through 4th Grade, 1991-1995 and 1974-1983, Aldine ISD, 1st Grade and 3rd Grade, 1972, Houston ISD, Substitute, 1972

In her own words: “The greatest gift I can give my students is a better reading ability and the love of learning. I love to be out and about and be approached by a grown-up who I taught as a first-, second-, or third-grader and share a memory or two – Hallmark can’t package and sell that!”

“I do whatever it takes to get my students as far from their starting line with me as possible. If it takes documenting for extra help, using more technology, organizing materials in a different way, taking more time to create more appealing learning materials, writing explanations to parents, sharing personal books and sources, or going to bat for a student’s needs, that’s what I try to accomplish.”

In the words of others: “Mrs. Walker’s students love her, and the parents in the Cedar Brook Elementary community know of her high expectations, thoroughness, and support for all.” Jeffrey Post, Cedar Brook Elementary Principal

“Her enthusiasm, love and passion for teaching and her students have hardly a rival on our staff… and we have an amazing group of teachers at Cedar Brook Elementary. She is conscientious, collaborative, organized and creative – and these words only begin to describe the teacher Pam Walker. Michele Gabriel, Cedar Brook Elementary Assistant Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Parent Teacher Association, Honorary Life Member
International Reading Association, Member
Team Leader & Student Teacher Leader, Multiple Years


Shadow Oaks 2013 Teacher of the Year - Suzie Rudolph

Suzie Rudolph
Shadow Oaks Elementary
Kindergarten Teacher

Education: University of Houston Downtown, Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, 1998

Teaching History: Shadow Oaks Elementary, Kindergarten Teacher, 2012-Present, Shadow Oaks Elementary, Prekindergarten Teacher, 1999-2012, Shadow Oaks Elementary, Long-term Substitute Teacher, 1999

In her own words: “Year after year, I have watched students make tremendous academic and social growth while in my classroom and throughout their elementary years. Year after year, I check with the students, their parents and their current grade-level teachers to find out how they are doing. The biggest compliment for me is when students have gone to middle school and still return and stop by my classroom to say ‘hello.’”

“I believe that teaching should be fun, hands on, and informative . . . I want students to come to class to learn, have fun, experience new things, and have a-ha moments throughout the day. I strive to be an energetic teacher who provides lots of real-life experiences that provide learning to all types of learners and students.”

In the words of others: “Mrs. Rudolph is a true professional who balances the demands of data-driven accountability, the social and emotional needs of her students, and the needs of the school-wide community. She does not work or serve for awards or accolades, but rather to make a difference and impact the life of each student with whom she interacts.” Cay Walker, 21st Century Texas ACE Site Coordinator

“Mrs. Rudolph’s high expectations, and detail to procedure along with her meaningful, engaging and language-rich instruction are the foundation for her students’ success. It is clear that she has a passion for children.” Julie Baggerly, Shadow Oaks Elementary Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
New Teacher Mentor & College Committee Chair, 2012
Student Teacher Sponsor, 2006, 2008-2010
Teacher of the Year, 2005-2006


Meadow Wood 2013 Teacher of the Year - Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson
Meadow Wood Elementary
First-Grade Teacher

Education: Texas Teacher Alternative Certification Program, Houston, 2008, Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Science in Community Health, 1995

Teaching History: Meadow Wood Elementary School, English as a Second Language/Gifted and Talented, 2008-Present, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Health Education, 1995-1996

In her own words: “My contributions don’t come in the form of research and published articles. It comes from the passion and dedication that I bring every day to 25 individual 6- and 7-year olds. I strive each day to promote a safe environment where learning happens by challenging deeper thinking. I encourage kids to think ‘Why?’ and not just ‘How?’

“I think that teaching is a passion that you must have. You can learn technique, but the ‘desire’ has to be internal. Every student can learn. It is my job to find out how they can best do that. I am blessed to work in a school where kids are No. 1… I also believe that teaching may be one of the hardest things I have ever done. Each day can be well planned and scripted, but the students drive the instruction. I facilitate the learning.”

In the words of others: “In Spring Branch ISD, our goal is that every child graduates our system prepared to successfully complete a technical, two- or four-year advanced degree. Ms. Johnson exemplifies the quality of teacher every child in our system must have to achieve this very aggressive and forward-thinking goal.” Jennifer Blaine, SBISD Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

“Ashley is able to keep each student challenged and right on the cutting edge of his or her learning without causing the child to be stressed. Her bright students are challenged and motivated to learn. Her struggling learners are challenged and motivated as well.” Robye Snyder, Meadow Wood Elementary Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
First-Grade Team Leader, Meadow Wood Elementary, 2010-2013
Donor’s Choose Recipient, Meadow Wood Elementary, 2013
Teacher of the Year Nominee, Meadow Wood Elementary, 2011, 2012
Recipient, SBISD Foundation Grant, 2010


Memorial Drive 2013 Teacher of the Year - Talya Robertson

Talya Robertson
Memorial Drive Elementary
Second-Grade Teacher/Team Leader

Education: University of Houston, Master’s in Education, Curriculum & Instruction, 2000, University of St. Thomas, Region IV Alternative Certification, 1999, Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education, 1993

Teaching History: Memorial Drive Elementary School, Second-Grade Teacher/Team Leader, 2011-Present, Woodview Elementary School, Math/Science School Improvement Specialist (4 years); Summer School Site Coordinator (1 year); and Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Teacher (2 years), 2005-2011, Panda Path School for Early Learning, Summer School Site Coordinator, 2009, Audrey Judy Bush Elementary, Alief ISD, Third-Grade Teacher (2 years); Team Leader (1 year); First-Grade Teacher (1 year), 2002-2005, Windsor Village Elementary, Houston ISD, First- and Third-Grade Teacher, 1998-2001, North Harris Community College, Houston, TX, Adjunct Faculty Member, 1996-1997

In her own words: “My students and I have fun coming up with jingles that help us with learning. For example, I’ll say ‘It’s problem-solving time,’ and one of the children will immediately respond, ‘Put your brains on the paper, and make me smile!’ This mnemonic device reminds them that I want to see all their thinking, whether correct or incorrect, with appropriate justifications.”

“I often stress to my students that we can all learn from each other and that they are my teachers as well. I encourage them to be just as respectful at home as they are at school. I remind them that building strong and healthy relationships with their family members and friends are important to their lives. I encourage them to read something every day.”

In the words of others: “Mrs. Robertson has helped my daughter who struggles with reading become a much more fluent and confident reader….I credit Mrs. Robertson’s encouragement for much of the change in my daughter’s attitude toward reading.” Jennifer Gottschalk, Parent

“One of the most outstanding things I recognize about Mrs. Robertson and her teaching is the manner in which she directs her classroom. There is a mutual respect between her and the students, and it is genuinely mutual. She not only hears her students, she listens to what they say. And in turn, they listen to her.”
Dinah Huthnance, Parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Co-Presenter, Evernote software training, SBISD techBYTES, 2013
Teacher of the Year, Woodview Elementary, 2006-2007
Team of the Year, Audrey Bush Elementary, 2003-2004


Ridgecrest 2013 Teacher of the Year - Nancy Delgado

Nancy Delgado
Ridgecrest Elementary
Language Arts Intervention Teacher (K-5)

Education: Texas State Board of Certification, Special Education Certification, 2009, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Reading Intervention, 1996-1997, University of St. Thomas, Region IV Alternative Certification Program, Elementary/Bilingual/ESL, 1994, Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, 1989

Teaching History: Ridgecrest Elementary School, Intervention Teacher (K-5), 2010-Present, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Special Education (K-5), 2009-2010, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Reading Intervention Teacher (K-3), 1996-2009, Ridgecrest Elementary School, ESOL Consultant Teacher (Interim), 2007-2009, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Kindergarten Teacher, 1988-1993

In her own words: “Almost 20 years have passed since I became a teacher and, without a doubt, I can say that teaching is the most dignified and refreshing profession. I am proud to call myself an educator.”

“As an intervention teacher, each day my students come to my class from their classrooms with a variety of experiences. Sometimes they come in with pride and confidence. Many times, they come looking overwhelmed and defeated. Despite of this scenario, my job every day is to lead all my students to believe that they can and will succeed.”

“I believe that having well-structured, K-12 multilingual programs that produce high school graduates fully fluent in at least two languages is just as important as offering advanced programs in science, technology or mathematics.”

In the words of others: “Nancy works long hours after school tutoring students and conducting meetings and staff development. She endeavors to help students reach grade-level requirements in their language arts objectives. She is committed to making sure that all children learn at Ridgecrest.” Patricia Thomas, Ridgecrest Elementary School Principal

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Team Leader, Multiple Years
Language Arts Curriculum Writer, 2012
Language Arts Benchmark Writer, 2011-Present
Leadership Team, 2010-Present
New Teacher Mentor, 1999-2001


Pine Shadows 2013 Teacher of the Year - Jamie Rusch

Jamie Rusch
Pine Shadows Elementary
Health Fitness Specialist

Education: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Bachelor of Science in Education Health and Human Performance, 2007, University of Wisconsin-Rock County, Freshman/Sophomore Courses, 2004-2005

Teaching History: Pine Shadows Elementary School, Health Fitness Specialist (K-5), 2011-Present

In her own words: “As far as rewards are concerned, I get them every day. I am rewarded with a smile, a hug, a bright-eyed look when a student finally understands a concept, knowing that I am making a difference in each child’s life.”

“What makes me an outstanding teacher is probably not my perfect lesson plan, or the fact that my objectives are clearly written on the board. It is the time that I take out to get to know my students. I build relationships, have conversations and involve myself in their lives and their community. I spend time after school, on weekends, and in the summers. I listen to them when they have a concern, and I am an example of what I teach.”

In the words of others: “Jamie is a problem solver, an innovator, and a dynamic member of our staff. Her enthusiasm, love and passion for health fitness and our students have hardly a rival in our district, and I know we have amazing teachers.” Aida Interiano, Pine Shadows Elementary Assistant Principal

“She is a wonderful role model to her students as they make healthy choices which will impact the rest of their lives. ‘Girls on the Run’ is one of the programs she has brought to our district. After seeing the difference in the lives of the girls in her program at Pine Shadows, other campuses adopted the program.” Becky Hagan, Woodview Elementary Assistant Principal

“Jamie is the teacher a parent would hand select to instruct his or her child. There are those who teach and those who are born to teach. Jamie was born to teach. Her gift of teaching is shared with every child in her classroom.” Elaine Hearn, SBISD Administrative Assistant

“When I begin to write on the topic of Jamie’s leadership, the words ‘inspiring,’ ‘visionary,’ ‘gifted’ and ‘compassionate’ all come to mind. She checks ‘her ego’ at the door and leads with her heart and soul…Jamie Rusch is blessed with the gift of educating, and she chooses to share this gift with all of us to bless our life and the future of our children.” Rebecca Fuchs, SBISD Director of Student Wellness

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
President-elect, Spring Branch Health Fitness Teachers Association, 2012-2013
Vice President, Spring Branch Health Fitness Teachers Association, 2011-2012
Head Coach, Girls on the Run, 2011-Current
Marty Urand “Rookie of the Year”, Spring Branch Health Fitness Teachers Association, 2011-2012
Curriculum Writer, Spring Branch Health Fitness Department, 2012-2013


Spring Branch Elementary 2013 Teacher of the Year - Teresa Batres

Teresa Batres
Spring Branch Elementary
Fourth-Grade Bilingual Teacher

Education: Region 4 Teacher Certification Program, Bilingual Generalist, 2010, University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, 2008, North Harris Montgomery Community College, Associate of Arts in Early Childhood, 2005

Teaching History: Spring Branch Elementary School, Fourth Grade, 2010-Present, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Third Grade, Spring 2010, Spring Branch ISD, Substitute Teacher, 2008-2010, Thornwood Elementary School, Prekindergarten, 2003-2008

In her own words: “I rarely think of myself as an outstanding teacher. However, I do have outstanding students. Every year, I mold myself to fit my student’s personalities like a chameleon. To effectively scaffold their learning, it is imperative that I organize my lessons, my classroom and my time successfully. I believe this profession is more about learning than teaching. Therefore, more about the students and less about me.”

In the words of others: “My family and I celebrated when we found out that my son was going to be in Mrs. Batres class this year. My son Ruben jumped up and down with excitement, saying that he got the job. It was a funny moment. She gives the third-grade students job applications for the next year. All students apply, and they know they are going to work and are excited about working as writers and researchers. Mrs. Batres motivates the students before they even enter her classroom.” Lourdes Aquino, Parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Dyslexia Training, 2012
Workstation Trainings, 2012, 2013
Gifted & Talented Trainings, July & August 2012
Classroom Management, 2012


Spring Shadows 2013 Teacher of the Year - Lori Cabrera

Lori Cabrera
Spring Shadows Elementary
English as a Second Language Kindergarten Teacher

Education: Texas State Board of Certification, English as a Second Language/Gifted and Talented, 1997, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, 1996

Teaching History: Spring Shadows Elementary School, ESOL Kindergarten Teacher, 2006-2013, Ridgecrest Elementary School, ESOL First Grade & Kindergarten, 1996-2006

In her own words: “My philosophy is to concentrate on the whole child and to help each achieve his fullest potential by developing mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. To accomplish this, I create an active, stimulating environment where children are happy, comfortable and eager to learn… I believe that high self esteem, values and attitudes are essential to proper development.”

“Education must be viewed as a continuum. If a third-grader begins the year at a kindergarten level and exits at a beginning third-grade level, he or she has shown amazing success even though that student did not achieve the third-grade exit level. The student is not a failure!”

In the words of others: “The proof is in her children. In my classroom visits, I have never walked into her room and seen quiet children hanging on her every word, and I was pleased. Instead, there is always a buzz of activity in Mrs. Cabrera’s room because SHE hangs on the students’ words, the students’ actions, and the students’ needs. No two children can do the same thing because they don’t need the same lessons. Mrs. Cabrera exemplifies this!”

“She approaches students challenges with empathy, not sympathy. She teaches problem-solving, not passivity. She nurtures survivors, not victims. Every child is the most important child in her class. Every child made the most amazing discovery today. Every child succeeds, and that’s what really drives this talented teacher.” Spring Shadows Assistant Principal Susan Bryant

“I was lucky enough to have Lori Cabrera as a kindergarten teacher for not one, but both of my children . . . Lori was our first teacher in Spring Branch, and I was so pleased with her friendliness, knowledge and willingness to be accessible for questions or concerns that came up through the years. Our family values education, and I truly believe that both of our sons have done well because of the excellent foundation established by Lori.” Karen Neely, Parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Master Teacher, 2012
Student Teacher Supervision, 7 Years


Terrace 2013 Teacher of the Year - Victoria Wolfram

Victoria Wolfram
Terrace Elementary School
Special Education Resource Teacher/Team Leader

Education: Baylor University, Bachelor of Science in Education, 1998

Teaching History: Terrace Elementary School, Special Education Resource Teacher, 1998-2013
Several SBISD elementary schools, Special Education Extended School Year, June 2004-2008

In her own words: “I tell my students repeatedly that my job is to help them learn what to do so that they can read any book they want on their own. I am so passionate about students becoming independent readers that I often get more excited than they do over their accomplishments!”

“I believe that standardized testing is consuming too much time and money in the educational system. The fundamental truth that children develop and learn at different rates is not taken into consideration.”

In the words of others: “She has to work with many students who are challenged with a learning disability. It is such a delight to watch her with these students. She has a natural way of meeting their needs and delivering instruction that is appropriate and individualized.” Terrace Elementary Principal April Blanco

“The love of teaching and the dedication of patience epitomize Victoria Wolfram. I have had the pleasure of working with Vicki for over 13 years and have seen her special talents transform students into readers, writers, mathematicians and thinkers with her skillful use of diagnostic skills, hand-created materials and explicit instruction.” Christine Wilson, Literacy Consultant

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Special Education Team Leader, 2001-2013
Leveled Literacy Intervention Teacher Leader, 2009-2013
Teacher Mentor, 2008-2010
PTA Lifetime Member


Thornwood 2013 Teacher of the Year - Cecelia Peterson

Cecelia Peterson
Thornwood Elementary
Music Teacher, Kindergarten through Fifth Grade

Education: University of South Carolina, Selected Course, 1997, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Selected Courses, 1993, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, Pa., Bachelor of Arts in Music/Teacher Certification, 1992

Teaching History: Thornwood Elementary School, Music, Kindergarten-Fifth grade, 2002-Present, Private Lesson Teacher, Katy ISD, 1999-2002, Warren County School District, Warren, Penn., Substitute and Assistant Band Director, 1998-1999, Williamsburg County School District, Kingstree, S.C., Music & Choir, 1996-1998, Warren County School District, Warren, Pa., Substitute, 1998-1999, Bolivar-Richburg School District, Bolivar, N.Y., Band, General Music, 1994-1995, Richburg School District, Richburg, N.Y., Band Director, 1992-1994

In her own words: “Teaching music incorporates math, art, science, language arts and history in a way that almost nothing else does. I think that’s what Plato was getting at when he said, ‘I would teach children music, physics and philosophy, but most importantly music and all the arts are the keys to learning.’”

“I have a sacred duty to provide a bridge for the students from their academic coursework to the rest of the world. It is often through my classroom that major strides in the social growth are made, that students finally understand how fractions work (through the study of music notation), and that students learn about almost-forgotten words from our nation’s history (through the study of folk music).”

In the words of others: “Cecelia views teaching as a serious responsibility, and demonstrates this with her students each and every day, while balancing this role with laughter, fun and respect for themselves and each other. In Cecelia’s music classroom, you will see learning in a differentiated way where students are given opportunities to learn music in connection with their own lives.” Thornwood Elementary Assistant Principal Vicki Mathieu

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Master Teacher Status, 2012
Campus Technology Representative, 2005-Present
Edmodo Staff Development, 2012
Love and Logic, 2002-Present
J. Landon Mini Grant Recipient, 2005
Texas Music Educators Association Member


Treasure Forest 2013 Teacher of the Year - Mirith Ballestas De Barroso

Mirith Ballestas De Barroso
Treasure Forest Elementary
Fifth-Grade Bilingual Teacher

Education: State Board of Educator Certification, Elementary Self-Contained/Bilingual/ESL, 2003, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, Master of Education, 2001, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, Specialist in Pedagogical Processes, 1998, Centro Experimental Piloto de La Guajira, Colombia, Certified Teacher, 1993, Universidad de Cartagena, Cartegena, Colombia, Civil Engineer Degree, 1978

Teaching History: Treasure Forest Elementary School, Fifth Grade/Bilingual/21st Century Academic Tutor, 2002-Present, Colegio Albania, La Guajira, Colombia, 5th-8th Grade Math and Group Director,1990-2002, Idiomas & Idiomas Language Institute, Barranquilla,Colombia, Spanish/English Teacher, 1986-1990

In her own words: “One of my main goals in my classroom has always been to help every child develop self-concept and self-esteem. I strive to offer opportunities for my students to become more independent and to be able to make the right decisions on their own. I know my students will not be in my classroom forever. I hope every day to have taught them certain lessons that go beyond the school setting.”

“Education is everyone’s responsibility. Teachers and parents must work as partners with the school system for the success of children. Teachers need to get to know their students, motivate them to learn, and care about them. Parents need to help, they need to collaborate with teachers, and be present in their children’s school life.”

In the words of others: “Ms. Ballestas is an incredible human being. She always has encouraging words to motivate the team and maintains a positive attitude to accomplish challenges and tasks that arise.She is supportive, kind and respectful with everyone.” Maria Solorzano, Treasure Forest Interdisciplinary Coach

“Mrs. Ballestas de Barroso is an integral part of the science cadre in Spring Branch. She helps write and translate science curriculum for the district. “ Donald Burken, Elementary Science Lead/District Instructional Specialist

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (TCTELA)
Science Facilitator/Trainer, 2012-2013
Clearwater Marine Aquarium Project, 2012
Campus Improvement Team (CIT), Treasure Forest Elementary, 2009-2011
Teacher of the Year, Treasure Forest Elementary, 2008
Jaycees International Officer of the Year, 1983


Westwood 2013 Teacher of the Year - Eugenia Olson

Eugenia Olson
Westwood Elementary School
Reading Intervention Specialist, K-2

Education: Special Education EC-12, Certificate by Exam, 2010, Texas Educator Certificates (3), Elementary Bilingual/ESL Spanish/Spanish/Self-Contained, 2002, University of Houston, Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary Studies, 2002

Teaching History: Westwood Elementary School, Reading Intervention Specialist K-5, 2011-Present, Westwood Elementary School, Second Grade ESL, 2010-2011, Buffalo Creek Elementary School, Reading Specialist/Third  & First-Grade Bilingual, 2002-2010

In the words of others: “I have never had a nicer teacher than Ms. Olson. I could go on with the nice things Ms. Olson does for us, but we would be here a long time.” Dusty Cutler, Westwood Elementary Fourth Grader

“Eugenia is an outstanding teacher, instructional leader and advocate for our students. Since the moment she has come to Westwood, She has made a difference in our students’ success…Eugenia comes to school every day ready to make a difference in our students’ lives.” Westwood Elementary Principal Kay Kennard

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Lead Mentor, Buffalo Creek Elementary, 2009-2010
Mentor Induction Program and Student Teaching UH, 2004-2007


Wilchester 2013 Teacher of the Year - Jennifer Franson

Jennifer Franson
Wilchester Elementary School
Fourth-Grade Teacher

Education: Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, 1993, English Specialization and Early Childhood Education Extension, 1993

Teaching History: Wilchester Elementary School, Fourth-Grade, Math/Science, 2011-Present, Wilchester Elementary School, Second-Grade, 2010-2011, Wilchester Elementary School, Fourth-Grade, Math/Science, 2006-2010, Lexington Creek Elementary, Fort Bend ISD, Fourth-Grade & Summer School, 1999-2006, Colin Powell Elementary, Fort Bend ISD, Second & Fourth-Grades, 1994-1996, Galatas Elementary, Fort Bend ISD, Early Childhood Education, Summer 1994

In her own words: “After 19 years of teaching, I still have the same enthusiasm and appreciation of classroom teaching that I had as a college freshman. I believe that giving my time, talent, experience and energy to students, parents, co-workers and future teachers is my greatest contribution to teaching.”

“I strive to promote a warm, inviting classroom where each student takes ownership of his or her learning experience, and is inspired on an individual basis to succeed at each task.”

“I believe students learn best when they are motivated to learn through an interactive classroom environment. Students are more likely to pay attention and learn if they are given opportunities to present what they have learned in a variety of ways.”

In the words of others: “I love Mrs. Franson because she is all about love.”

“She sings and dances in class when we are doing science and math.”

Student responses to Ms. Franson being named campus Teacher of the Year
“Ms. Franson is a leader on our campus in incorporating technology into the classroom. She is working this year as an early adopter within a district cadre in exploring new and innovative ways to imbed and use technology in her classroom. Her desire and passion for learning in this area make her a leader on our campus in meeting and exceeding SBISD’s T-2-4 goals.” Rian Evans, Wilchester Elementary Principal

“Mrs. Franson is by far a fabulous teacher. Her lessons are invigorating, exciting, creative and applicable to everyday life. She treats all her students with respect and has created an atmosphere where each child feels safe and free to express themselves.” Holly Davis, Parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Elementary Social Studies Committee Board Member, 2008-2009
Campus Improvement Team (CIT) Member, 2008-2010, 2012-2013
Teacher of the Year, Lexington Creek Elementary, 2004-2005
Rookie of the Year, Colin Powell Elementary, 1994-1995


Woodview 2013 Teacher of the Year - Rob Allen

Rob Allen
Woodview Elementary School
Third-Grade Teacher

Education: Houston Community College, Alternative Teacher Certification, 2005, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, N.Y., Juris Doctorate of Law, 1999, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., Bachelor of Science in Broadcasting, 1993

Teaching History: Woodview Elementary School, Third-Grade, 2008-2013, Woodview Elementary School, Kindergarten, 2007-2008, Epps Island Elementary School, Klein ISD, Kindergarten, 2005-2007

In his own words: “Students need to be heard and understand that their viewpoint is respected. Sometimes, my best tool is simply to listen. Every student needs a different learning path to succeed. By being available and relating to my students through their typical language and conversations, I am best able to ascertain what techniques would most benefit that student.”

In the words of others: “Rob’s commitment to our students is evident by his level of caring and concern that he shows. He routinely seeks to help students by getting them the extra support that they may need. Whether working with inclusion students, ESL students, or students that have challenges in their home life, Rob works well with other staff members to meet their special needs.” Neda Scanlan, Woodview Elementary Principal

“He empowers his students by encouraging them to use technology in a variety of subjects. Not only does he attend to their cognitive needs, but he makes sure he fosters their social and emotional growth as well through gentle encouragement and large doses of praise.” Judi VanHorn, Spring Branch Elementary School/Early Childhood

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Third Grade Team Leader, 2011-2012
Editor-in-Chief, Woodview Yearbook, 2011-2012
Odyssey of the Mind Coach, 2010-2011
J. Landon Short Mini Grant Recipient, 2009
Donors Choose Grant Winner, 9 Separate Projects


Nottingham 2013 Teacher of the Year - Molly Michelle Murphy

Molly Michelle Murphy
Nottingham Elementary School

Education: Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Masters of Library Science, 2005, University of Houston, Certification in Elementary Education, 1990, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, 1987

Teaching History: Nottingham Elementary School, Librarian, 2005-Present, Nottingham Elementary School, First-Grade Teacher, 1995-1996, Edgewood Elementary School, First-Grade Teacher (ESL), 1991-1995

In her own words: “Books and the library changed my life. They are the reason I am a librarian today.”

“I am an advocate of the new term ‘private’ education – the movement from teachers teaching students the core to librarians giving the students the tools to learn and teach themselves, so that students take ownership of their learning thereby broadening their own horizon. Modern technology provides them with this possibility.”

In the words of others: “In the library, I am always amazed by the connections she is able to make between technology and classroom instruction. She strives to tie subjects together to enhance the learning experiences for all our students.” Mary Hoffman, Nottingham Elementary parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Texas Library Association, Member of Elementary School Librarian Association
Campus Technology Professional Development Trainer
Bell Award Recipient, 2011
Book Reviewer, African-American Children’s Literature


Lion Lane 2013 Teacher of the Year Noe Robles-Castaneda

Noe Robles-Castaneda
The Lion Lane School for Early Learning
Prekindergarten Bilingual Teacher

Education: Region IV Service Center, Certification in Bilingual Education, 2007, Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Zapopan, Mexico, Masters in Quality Systems, 2003, Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Zapopan, Mexico, Teaching Diploma in Chemistry, Physics & Math, 2001-2003

Teaching History: Lion Lane School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten Bilingual Teacher, 2008-Present, Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten Bilingual Teacher, 2007-2008, Instituto Francisco I. Madero A.C., Zapopan, Mexico, English Teacher, 2005-2007, Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico, Chemistry, Physics and Math Teacher, 1999-2005, Escuela Secundaria Foranea #13, Colotlan, Mexico, Chemistry Tutor-Teacher, 1997-1999

In his own words: “My most rewarding moments are seeing my students’ expressions when a cognitive conflict is challenging their minds while they are trying to solve a problem. When they succeed, it is the most exciting thing I can ever see! They master a skill, and they are ready for the next step!”

“Life brought me to this big, wonderful, challenging and successful country, and Spring Branch ISD gave me the opportunity in 2007 to work with 4-year-old students as a bilingual teacher. . . I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow as a person and as a teacher here.”

In the words of others: “Noe loves all his students. You cannot be around him long before you realize that he sees the special gifts in each and every one of them. While he has very high expectations for performance, he achieves his goals with gentle words and a kind heart.”

“He has a warm and unique relationship with each of his students that allows them to feel special and successful. He works hard to be sure every one of them leaves Lion Lane knowing that learning is fun, and school is a good place to be.”

“As Noe loves his students, his parents love him. This is evident by the support they give him in his classroom. On any given day, you will find a number of parents volunteering in his room. They are truly part of the educational experience in his class. They celebrate learning with him, their children, and the other students every day. His dedication to his families is amazing.” Sharee Cantrell, Lion Lane School Director

Selected Honors, Awards and Activities:
Campus Technology Representative, 2012-2013
Speaker and Student Coach, SBISD and Mexico schools


Wildcat Way 2013 Teacher of the Year - Joanne Collier

Joanne Collier
Wildcat Way School for Early Learning
Prekindergarten Teacher

Education: Texas Teachers, Alternative Teacher Certification Program, 2009, Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Journalism, 1987

Teaching History: Wildcat Way School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten, 2011-Present, Wildcat Way School for Early Learning, Inclusion Specialist, 2009-2011, Substitute Teacher, 2004-2009

In her own words: “My fundamental philosophy about teaching is that ‘students learn when they are thinking and doing, not when the teacher is talking.’ I think my style of teaching has been significantly influenced by my experiences as an inclusion specialist. Working with special needs students, particularly those with autism, has given me a unique perspective in the way I believe students think and learn.”

In the words of others: “Mrs. Collier has an in-depth understanding of prekindergarten curriculum, and is able to provide instruction in a meaningful way that engages students, ensuring that they are challenged but not frustrated.” Tim Ashford, Wildcat Way School for Early Learning Director

“I volunteered weekly in her class throughout the year and saw for myself the truly special skills and talents that Joanne had with those students. The class had a mix of cultural backgrounds and children with a variety of classroom needs, and she was able to address all of them.” Michelle Riddle, Parent of Wildcat Way Student

Selected Honors, Awards and Activities:
Texas PTA Member, 2001-Present
Texas PTA Life Member Award, 2006


Guthrie Center 2013 Teacher of the Year - Tina Miller

Tina Miller
The Guthrie Center
Internship Coordinator, Career & Technical Education, Grades 11-12

Education: Concordia University, Masters in Educational Leadership & Management, 2013, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sciences, 2003, North Harris Community College, Associate Degree in Applied Sciences, 2002, University of Houston, Alternative Teacher Certification

Teaching History: The Guthrie Center, Internship Coordinator, Career & Technical Education, 2000-2014

In her own words: “Every day as an Internship Coordinator, I have the pleasure of connecting high school juniors and seniors with businesses that are interested in young people’s lives and futures through applicable trainings in an employment setting. An internship is a highly effective way to spark a young person’s interest about their future and set them in motion to achieve their goals. I believe making education relevant to what the learner desires to learn is critically important for successful learning.”

“I have seen that learning from a real-world perspective is a fundamental key towards a technical certification, a two-year degree or a four-year degree.”

In the words of others: “She takes a personal interest in each and every student. She does not hesitate to challenge them and requires that they live up to her extremely high standards. I recall one of her former students that came back to visit her. When she realized that he was not living up to his potential, she gently but firmly assisted him in making a plan to accomplish a goal that would be in line with his many gifts. She follows her students and keeps in touch even after they have graduated. They are better human beings as a result of having Ms. Miller as their teacher.”

“The training and knowledge that she instills in her students benefits them their entire life. I have heard many of our business partners speak about the amazing skills her student interns come to them possessing. One international company even exclaimed that her high school students were better prepared than any of the college interns.” Sue Loudis, Partnerships & Volunteer Programs Coordinator


Westchester Academy 2013 Teacher of the Year - Maureen Fertitta-Andrews

Maureen Fertitta-Andrews
Westchester Academy for International Studies
Math/Science, Grades 9-12

Education: University of Houston, Master’s of Business Administration, 1982, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1977, Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Arts (in what area?), 1977

Teaching History: Westchester Academy, Math/Science, Grades 9-12, 2000-2013, Alexander-Smith Academy, Houston, TX, Math, Grades 9-12, 1995-1999, Austin Community College, Math, Freshmen/Sophomores, 1994-1995, Tenney School, Houston, TX, Math/Business

In her own words: “We in Spring Branch ISD have embarked on an exciting mission called T-2-4. Each of our Advisory Teachers presents lessons regarding various types of post-secondary positions, whether it be a T-technical school, a 2-year degree or a 4-year degree. Our students are becoming more aware of what it takes to obtain each of these avenues for life.”

In the words of others: “She is dynamic, dedicated and devoted to teaching her students. Maureen takes time to build relationships with her students and strives to help them as they prepare for life beyond WAIS(Westchester Academy). She holds them to the highest academic standards and expects them to be accountable for their learning.” Westchester Academy Interim Director Nancy Bertin

“Maureen continues to stretch herself in her chosen profession, and never rests until students are provided with innovative, challenging coursework. She is an active member of our teaching community and volunteers with a variety of committees and teams. In the middle of all this, she maintains an incredibly positive and optimistic demeanor that is a beacon for all.” Mechiel Rozas, Assistant Director Upper School, Westchester Academy

“Maureen sees herself as a continuous learner and is always looking for ways to help her students be successful. She looks for ways to increase her repertoire of instructional strategies so she is prepared to help all students learn the material. Her classroom is an exciting place to be with students actively engaged in the learning process.” Pamela Butler, Executive Director, Secondary Teaching and Learning

Selected Honors, Recognitions & Activities:
Phi Kappa Phi, Honor Society
Teach Houston Program, University of Houston
Lead Math/Science Teacher for 1st Year International Baccalaureate Program
Math Coordinator for International Baccalaureate Program Implementation
Youth Inspired Award, Northbrook High School, 2006


Spring Oaks 2013 Teacher of the Year - April Tavilson

April Tavilson
Spring Oaks Middle School
Science, Pre-Advanced Placement and Academic, Grades 7-8

Education: University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, 2008

Teaching History: Spring Oaks Middle School, Science, 2008-Present

In her own words: “Any and all of my colleagues across our nation can tell you that being a teacher comes with tremendous burdens, but with that we can also reap amazing rewards in witnessing the growth and success of young people in our nation. For me, teaching feeds my soul, keeps me energized and never bores me as new challenges always rise before me.”

In the words of others: “Ms. Tavilson came to us five years ago as newly certified science teacher and began teaching from the first day like a seasoned veteran, but with an approach that was all her own. I remember evaluating her instruction that first year and wasn’t sure what to make of it because it was so nontraditional. I soon realized that she was just a few years ahead of the rest of us and that she was just implementing the 21st century style of instruction that national leaders in education had been promoting. That is – creative lessons, collaborative learning, integrated technology, and so on. It just took a few more years for the rest of us to fully understand and catch up.”

“If you visit Ms. Tavilson’s classes, you will never see the same thing twice. Most of the work is set up in a problem-based learning format where she is the facilitatior. You will see very little direct teaching, but students will be working collaboratively in groups.” Spring Oaks Middle School Principal David Sablatura, Ed.D.

Selected Honors, Awards and Activities:
New Teacher Mentor
Edmodo Campus Follow-up Training Lead, 2011
Partnering Pilot Teacher, Spring Oaks Middle School, 2011


Spring Forest 2013 Teacher of the Year - Sharon Sharadin

Sharon Sharadin
Spring Forest Middle School
Language Arts, Grade 7

Education: University of Maine at Presque Isle, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, 1991, Cypress Junior College, Cypress, Calif., 1972

Teaching History: Spring Forest Middle School, Language Arts, Language Arts, Grade 7, and Pre-Advanced Placement and Academic Co-Teacher (2 years); and Grade 6, Gifted and Talented, Pre-Advanced Placement, Reading Intervention, Academic Co-Teacher (6 years), 2005-2013, Rummel Creek Elementary, Grade 4, 2000-2005, Horne Elementary School, Grade 4, 1992-2000, Presque Isle, Maine, Substitute Teacher, 1992

In her own words: “I strongly believe that developing relationships with students is the most effective way to gain their trust and respect. I start the year off with an inventory in which I learn about the whole student – their outside interests – sports, movies, music and hobbies; reading preferences; extracurricular activities; the way they view themselves as learners; their expectations for the upcoming year. This gives me an opportunity to think about how I can best meet their academic needs, as well as demonstrating that their teacher has an interest in more than just their grades.”

In the words of others: “Mrs. Sharadin is the teacher that all principals wish they could have on their faculty. Bright, witty, compassionate, dedicated and loyal are just some of the words that I would use to describe Mrs. Sharadin. It is not often that you come across a teacher that has the work ethic and patience that Sharon possesses.” Dr. Kaye Williams, Spring Forest Middle School Principal

  • Selected Honors, Awards and Activities:
  • Department Chair, Spring Forest Middle School, 6 years
  • Host Classroom, University Student Observations, 2011-2013
  • Teacher of the Year, Spring Forest Middle School, 2009, 2013
  • Teacher of the Year, Home Elementary School, 1999


Spring Branch Middle 2013 Teacher of the Year - Helen Roberts

Helen Roberts 
Spring Branch Middle School
Science, Grade 6

Education: University of Houston, Master’s of Education, 1994, Sam Houston State University, Bachelor of Arts in Elementary, Education, 1990, Blinn College, 1988

Teaching History: Spring Branch Middle School, Science, Grade 6, 1990-Present

In her own words: “I feel pride when former students come back and share what they are doing in life and say, ‘I remember this or that from your science class.’ I am constantly reminded of J.L. Kiappes who was one of my students very long ago and won a silver medal at the 2004 Chemistry Olympics and who is now a graduate research fellow at Oxford University. He says, ‘I got into chemistry because you made talking about atoms so much fun in 6th grade!’”

In the words of others: “Mrs. Roberts has taught all three of my children, sometimes twice, in both 6th and 7th grade science classes. She has consistently been a favorite teacher among students and their parents for many reasons. Helen cares deeply about all of her students. She gets to know each student personally, and knows how to motivate each one. She sets high standards and her students strive to meet her expectations, which are always clear and consistent.” Susie and Reggie Howards, Parents of three former students of Helen Roberts

  • Selected Honors, Recognitions and Activities: 
  • TeachHouston Mentor, 2011-2012
  • Jason Argonaut Cadre, 2012-2013
  • Student Teacher Mentor, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Spring Branch Middle School, Teacher of the Year, 1998, 2006
  • Who’s Who Among American Teachers, 2004-2006
  • PTA Life Membership Award


Northbrook 2013 Teacher of the Year - Kirk Eckstein

Kirk Eckstein
Northbrook High School
World Geography, Sociology & Psychology, Grades 9 and 11-12

Education: University of Newcastle, Australia, Study Abroad, 2004, Indiana State University, Bachelor of Science in Social Studies, 2006

Teaching History: Northbrook High School, Academic & Pre-AP World Geography, Psychology & Sociology, Grades 9 and 11-12, 2007-Present

In his own words: “One of my most significant accomplishments occurred last year when a fellow teacher and I took a group of seniors to Washington, D.C., for Spring Break…The students were so excited to visit places they had only seen in their textbooks or on TV. I will never forget explaining to one of my students that we were looking at the real Star Spangled Banner, or hearing another student carry on a full conversation with one of the Joint Chiefs during a Senate meeting that included John McCain and Joe Lieberman.”

In the words of others: “Kirk has proven to be an excellent teacher. He is solid and reliable; his attendance is excellent, he will do whatever is asked of him and he has, in fact, taken on many responsibilities outside of his regular classroom duties.” Randolph Adami, Northbrook High Principal

“Kirk has worked hard on preparation for the End of Course testing in World Geography… Kirk has also been involved in bringing a $25,000 technology grant to the Social Studies Department…And if that hasn’t been enough, Kirk has also been the Student Council sponsor.” Nancy Jackson, Northbrook High Social Studies Department Chair

  • Selected Honors, Recognitions and Activities:
  • Texas Council of Social Studies conference presenter, 2011
  • World Geography Team Leader, 2011
  • Northbrook High Senior Honor Awards Recipient, 2010, 2011
  • SBISD Power to Learn Grant Recipient – Classroom Netbooks, 2009


Memorial Middle 2013 Teacher of the Year - Jennifer Lennox

Jennifer Lennox
Memorial Middle School
Science, 7th Grade Science

Education: Texas A&M University-College Station, Bachelor of Science-Vertebrate Zoology, 2006, UT-Health Science Center at Houston: School of Public Health, Master’s Degree, Public Health, 2008

Teaching History: Memorial Middle School, 7th Grade Academic, Pre Advanced Placement and Gifted and Talented Science

In her own words:
“Teaching has been the hardest job I have ever had… and the best.”

“My knowledge of science has taught me two important things: Humanity is unique and wonderfully made, and life is complicated but beautiful. I spend most of the school year presenting evidence of these things to seventh-graders as we uncover what it means to be living, how each structure has a necessary and related function, and how a system is nothing without the sum of its parts. It is a beautiful topic to teach.”

“In spite of my higher education in science, I had learned as much in a meaningful way until I began teaching seventh-grade life science. I have also never worked harder in a job. It requires boundless energy and the desire to empower others. My greatest reward is occasionally feeling like I have made a difference – in my own life by fueling my love of learning, in my students’ lives as I try to teach them that science is relevant whether they like it or not, and finally in my own family.”

In the words of others: “Jennifer is conscientious, hard working, and truly is gifted in the way she works with her students. She uses technology in the classroom constantly, which makes the learning so much more exciting for her students. She spends her time and energy creating lessons that she knows will motivate her students to a high level of learning.” Lisa Weir, Memorial Middle School Principal

    Selected Honors, Recognitions and Activities:
  • Seventh-Grade Science Curriculum Rewriting Committee, 2013-Present
  • Seventh-Grade Science Team Leader, 2011-Present


Landrum 2013 Teacher of the Year - Amarilys William

Amarilys William
Landrum Middle School
Science, 6th Grade

Education: Aero Borinquen, Puerto Rico, Airline and Travel Agency Operations, 1998, InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico, Bachelor of Arts, Junior High Science, 1999-2005

Teaching History: Landrum Middle School, 6th Grade Science, 2010-Present, Spring Forest Middle School, 6th & 7th Grade Science, 2008-2010, Luis Negron Lopez High School, Puerto Rico, Support Teacher, 2007-08 & 2005-06, Segunda Unidad David Antongiorgi, Puerto Rico, English Teacher, 2006-07, Luis Munoz Rivera Elementary School, Teacher Assistant, 2005, Colegio San Augustin y Espiritu Santo, 6-8th Grade Science, 2003

In her own words: “My grandmother helped shape my life and she inspires me. She was a very strong, generous, honest and loving woman. She was the director of the nursing department at the Veterans Hospital in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. She was also a lay ecclesial minister and I loved watching her preach and work with people. She helped so many people and that is something that really shaped my character and life.”

“I am the type of teacher who makes the students actively work for their learning, and I reward them for their hard work. Every semester, they can earn science toys such as microscopes and telescopes if they produce the best grades. If students do well on a test, they may receive a voucher for a cafeteria treat or a dinner party after school with my family and other students. My students are like my own children, and I will make sure that I praise them when they do well. In the same way, I correct them when they are not on the right path to success.”

In the words of others: “The success of our school and that of our students is built on the foundation of educators resembling Mrs. William. I believe she epitomizes the attributes of an outstanding teacher and role model.” Luis Pratts, Landrum Middle School Principal

“From blowing rockets 200 feet in the air to making online interactive lessons, students are always engaged in her class. She is a master at the craft of teaching.” Brian Shillingburg, Landrum Middle School Assistant Principal

“Amarilys’ students have no choice but to love the subject of science as much as she does. She makes them all want to come to her class and learn – every day.” Karen Nickel, Landrum Middle School Science Department Chair

  • Selected Honors, Recognitions and Activities:
  • NASA Field Trip Coordinator, 2012
  • Jason Project Cadre Recognition, 2012


Academy of Choice 2013 Teacher of the Year - Kimberly DeGidio

Kimberly DeGidio
Academy of Choice
Secondary Art

Education: Texas State University-San Marcos, Bachelor of Fine Arts/Arts Education, 2006, Artis International Study Abroad Program, Florence, Italy, 2006, Glassel Studio School Museum of Fine Arts, advanced photography & painting, University of Houston, Art Education Graduate Student, Present

    Teaching History: SBISD Academy of Choice, 2006-Present

    In her own words: “Students that would normally give up would find my story and abilities as a source of inspiration and give them the drive needed to complete their own goals. Although my course is considered an elective, the problem-solving skills and self-esteem building that occur transcend into their personal lives.”

    “Throughout my life, I have successfully faced many challenges and overcome many obstacles. This dedication had in turn helped my abilities as an artist, and more importantly, as an educator.”

    In the words of others: “Kim’s personal energy and enthusiasm are contagious. It’s easy to forget that she has to find ways to overcome her own physical challenges. Her personal commitment in making a statement for “handicapped” persons is an amazing life lesson for all students who have the privilege of being in her class. She is an amazing teacher who lets nothing or no one stand in the way of student achievement and success for herself.” Dr. Michele Hilberth, Academy of Choice Principal

  • Selected Honors, Recognitions and Activities:
  • Junior VASE (Visual Art Scholastic Event) Judge, 2009-Present
  • Texas Art Education Association workshop presenter, 20102


Cornerstone Academy 2013 Teacher of the Year - Ashley England

Ashley England Cornerstone Academy 8th Grade American History
Education: Texas A&M University/Blinn College, Bachelor of Science in Economics, 2003
LeTourneau University, Teacher Alternative Certification, 2006

Teaching History: Cornerstone Academy, 2008-Present, SBISD School of Choice, 2006-2008, School, Prekindergarten, 2003

In her own words: “I believe that teaching is a calling and a way of life. My friends and family always tease me, but I am always in my ‘educator mode,’ prompting those around me with questions and encouraging them to learn something new… If you don’t love what you do, you cannot be effective in changing lives. The rewards of teaching are found when your students leave your classroom and find that they no longer need you, as they can think and do for themselves.”

In the words of others: “There are many proficient and dedicated teachers in our profession. There are also teachers who, because of their commitment to education and students, must be considered outstanding. Ashley England is outstanding.” Jill Wright, Cornerstone Academy Principal

“Her pride in the events of American history and her in-depth reading of the heroes and villains that make our nation unique are the perfect combination for developing an award-winning educator. She is a tremendous asset not only to her campus, but to Spring Branch and the state of Texas.” Maurine Richter, 2008 SBISD Teacher of the Year

Selected Honors, Recognitions and Activities:
  • AES Coordinator & Trainer for CTE Department, August 2011-Present
  • National Junior Honor Society Sponsor, 2009-Present
  • Cornerstone PTA School Bell, 2013
  • Cornerstone Academy Teacher of the Year, 2012


Spring Branch ISD