Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning 2014 Teacher of the Year - Kiersten W. Caballero

Kiersten W. Caballero
Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning
Pre-kindergarten, All Subjects

Auburn University (Auburn, Ala.) Bachelor of Arts, Early Childhood Education, 1990

Teaching History
Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning, Spring Branch ISD, 2006-Present
Terrace Elementary School, Spring Branch ISD, 2005-2006
Pines Presbyterian Preschool, Houston, Texas, 2001-2005
Charlotte-Mecklenburg ISD, Charlotte, N.C., 1990-1992

16 years total of teaching experience…

In her own words…

“I could not imagine feeling as rewarded in any other profession. I often tease with my colleagues about winning the lottery and how if that were to occur I can honestly say I would continue teaching Pre-K at Bear Blvd in Spring Branch ISD. Teaching is my passion. It is my true calling.”

In the words of others . . .

Mrs. Caballero "can reach a troubling or struggling student with simple, yet profound, motherly instincts and empathy coupled with complete professionalism."
–  Claudia Boone, friend and colleague

"As principal, I appointed her to serve in campus leadership positions, such as our BBS Leadership Team. She routinely shares classroom strategies, interventions and instructional technology applications with colleagues."
 Kim Hammer, The Bear Boulevard School Director

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Pre-Kindergarten Team Leader, Bear Boulevard School for Early LearningJunior League of Houston, Member


Westwood Elementary 2014 Teacher of the Year - Kathleen Jones

Kathleen Jones
Westwood Elementary
Special Education, Grades K-12

St. Edwards University ( Austin, Texas) , Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2004
Special Education EC-12, ACT Houston, Fort Bend ISD, Spring 2009
Highly Qualified Special Education since June 2009

Teaching History

Westwood Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2013-Present
Brazos Bend Elementary, Fort Bend ISD, 2010-2013
Juan Seguin Elementary, Fort Bend ISD, 2009-2010.
Austin High School, Fort Bend ISD, 2008-2009
Special Education Teacher, Clark County ISD, Las Vegas, NV, 2005-2006

Seven years total of teaching experience

In her own words . . .

“To watch someone suddenly understand and process what you are showing, or speaking about, is priceless. Teaching just does not come from standing in front of your class and taking, or showing pictures about it. It’s linking the new information to reality so those individuals correlate how they can benefit from it in their own lives.”

In the words of others . . .

“My first impression of Kathleen was of surprise when I found out how young she was, yet she revealed a deep insight into student issues, whether they be academic or behavioral.”
Donna Cramer, Westwood Elementary Reading Interventionist 

“Kathleen has been at our school for little over seven months. It would seem that seven months is hardly enough time to establish one’s self in the school environment much less impress your colleagues to such an extent that you are voted Teacher of the Year. Our school, however, knows a good teacher when we see one.”
Penne Irvin, Westwood Elementary Teacher

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Teacher of the Year, Brazos Bend Elementary, Fort Bend ISD, 2011-2012
Rookie Teacher of the Year, Juan Seguin Elementary, 2009-2012


Pine Shadows Elementary 2014 Teacher of the Year - Irma Garner

Irma Garner
Pine Shadows Elementary
Grade 2, Two-Way Dual Language

Region 4 Alternative Principal Certification Program 
University of Texas at Brownsville (Brownsville, Texas), Master of Education Bilingual Education, May 2013
University of Houston (Houston, Texas), Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Spanish, May 2000

Teaching History

Pine Shadows Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2006-present
Spring Branch Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2000-2006

13 years total of teaching experience

In her own words…

“Education is not one size fits all. It’s about fostering learners to develop critical thinking skills in content areas, developing communication, creativity, and collaboration to prepare students for the future. “

In the words of others . . .

“Irma excels in the classrooms. She sets high expectations for herself and her students. She sets a tone of academic achievement, regardless of the child and where that child is with their learning. Irma meets each child where they are and challenges them to be the best they can be both as learners and as people.”
Joyce Olson, Pine Shadows Elementary Principal

“Irma challenges herself as an educator. She is not afraid to face a challenge to try new instructional practices. She steps forward on campus a leader frequently, whether it be as a team leader, providing parent support, or teammate support.”
Lisa Dolce, Pine Shadows Elementary Instructional Coach

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Parent U Speaker, Dual Language at Pine Shadows, October 2013
PTA School bell Award, 2011-2012
HAABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year, 2002-2003
2nd Grade Team Leader, Pine Shadows Elementary, Two Years


Wildcat Way Early Learning Center 2014 Teacher of the Year - Amber Micak

Amber Micak
Wildcat Way Early Learning Center
Pre-kindergarten, All Subjects

Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas), Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, 1996
Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Academic Studies, 1993.
Lee College (Baytown, Texas), Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, 1993

Teaching History
Wildcat Way Early Learning Center, Spring Branch ISD, 2002-Present
The Bendwood School Child Development Lab School, Spring Branch ISD,1995-2002
St. Jerome Catholic School, Houston, Texas, August-October 1995
Big Little School, Houston, Texas, 1994-1995

20 years total of teaching experience

In her own words . . .

“The most rewarding part of teaching Pre-k is the unpredictability. Each day may have some highs and lows but it is never boring! From the smiles, to the tears, to the challenging behaviors, it is never boring.”

In the words of others . . .
“Amber is now in her 12th year as a prekindergarten teacher. She has gained the respect of her peers for her dedication to students and her creativity. . . .It is rare to find the combined strengths of strong instructional ability, true compassion, a concern for students, and a desire to continually improve.”
 Tim Ashford, The Wildcat Way School for Early Learning Administrator

“As the result of her teaching both of our children, we came to know (Ms. Amber) as a caring, creative and sincere educator, who truly loves working with children and helping them learn.”
 Tim and Rebecca Brown, Wildcat Way School for Early Learning student parents

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Campus Improvement Team (CIT), Wildcat Way Learning Center, Member,2002-Present
Campus Literacy Team (CLT), Wildcat Way Learning Center, Member, 2002-Present
Pre-Kindergarten Team Leader, Wildcat Way Learning Center, 2002-Present
Outstanding Educator of Young Children Award, 1997


Edgewood Elementary 2014 Teacher of the Year - Ramon A. Cruz-Lima

Ramon A. Cruz-Lima 
Edgewood Elementary
Grade 4, Bilingual Teacher

Region 4 Alternative Certification Program, EC-4 Bilingual Teacher Certification, Aug. 2001- March 2003
University of Houston, Biology, Geology and English courses for ACP credit hours, July 2001
Havana University, Cuba. Diploma in Management and Administration, Oct. 1995 - Feb. 1996
Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Post grad Studies in International Economic Relations, Oct. 1995-Feb. 1996
University of Kiev, Ukraine, USSR, Bachelors of Economics with honors, July 1978 – July 1932

Teaching History
Spring Branch ISD, Edgewood Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2009 – PresentSchmalz Elementary, Katy ISD, 2008-2009Edgewood Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2000-2008
University of Ciego de Avila, Cuba, Teacher and Vice Dean

27 years total of teaching experience

In his own words…

“Our mission as teachers is to make children feel loved and respected and most importantly, to provide them and their parents with the tools and the beliefs to break the cycle of poverty. It is we, the teachers, who make the difference for these children inspiring them to dream big and compete, encouraging them to release the poet, the activist or the researcher that lives inside them.”

In the words of others . . .

“Mr. Ramon Cruz exhibits all the attributes Spring Branch ISD values in a teacher. There is something very magical about a teacher that can hold very high expectations of his students and at the same time be highly respected by his students.”
– Vivan Pratts, Edgewood Elementary Principal

“It is a delight to enter Mr. Cruz-Lima’s bilingual classroom. The classroom is alive with all of the students actively engaged in their learning. They are talking and writing to support their understanding of the content. The students work together, in pairs or small groups, on hands-on activities. Frequently, the students use technology to take their learning beyond the classroom.”
– Linder Alderman, Edgewood Elementary Interdisciplinary Coach

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Excellence in Teaching Ambassador, Teaching for America, 2013
Bilingual Student Mentor, St. Thomas University and University of Houston Downtown, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011
TEA Textbook Review Panel, member, 2007


Bunker Hill Elementary 2014 Teacher of the Year - Ashley Cernosek

Ashley Cernosek
Bunker Hill Elementary
Kindergarten, All Subjects

Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Texas) , Bachelor of Science and Interdisciplinary Studies, Elementary Education specializing in Early Childhood Education; ESL Certified, 2002

Teaching History
Bunker Hill Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2011-Present
Wildcat Way School for Early Learning, Spring Branch ISD, 2002-2011
Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning, Spring Branch ISD, August-October 2002

12 years total in teaching experience…

In her own words…

“I am concerned with the growth of each student- intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically. I will strive to foster a feeling of self-worth, a love of learning, high standards and expectations, and an increasing responsibility for self-direction.”

In the words of others . . .

“Mrs. Cernosek has truly spent the year developing our whole child. She has literally turned Brooke’s light bulb on! She is an amazing educator who takes a personal interest in each one of her students. She acknowledges their individual needs, strengths and personalities and somehow she manages to excel at helping each child be the absolute best little person they can be.”
 Michael and Stacey Kearnes, parents of Brooke

“Ashley has inspired and shaped 5 year-olds’ minds as a kindergarten teacher at Bunker Hill Elementary for 3 years. . . . She has led her peers as team leader at a time when her leadership needed most. Three of her team members (out of five) were new this year, yet the team is functioning at a highly effective pace.”
  Bunker Hill Elementary Principal Valerie Hernandez, Ed.D.

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
PTA School Bell Award Nominee, 2013-2014
Behavioral Committee, Member, Bunker Hill Elementary, Current
Sunshine Committee, Wildcat Way Center for Learning, Five Years
Campus Technology Representative, Wildcat Way Center for Learning, Four Years


The Lion Lane School 2014 Teacher of the Year - Sharon Mahabir

Sharon Mahabir
The Lion Lane School
Pre-kindergarten, All Subjects

University of Texas at Brownsville (Brownsville, Texas), Masters of Instructional Technology, Present-August 2015
University of Houston (Houston, Texas), Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, 2007

Teaching history
Lion Lane School for Early Learning, Spring Branch ISD, 2012-Present
Ursula Stephens Elementary, Katy ISD, Katy, Texas, 2007-2012

Seven years total of teaching experience

In her own words…

“I believe that one of the most important things I can do for my students is to take the time to understand them and their needs to develop relationship with each and every one of them…Yes, I teach them about letters and numbers, but I also teach them so much more…most importantly, I teach them that they are important and how they feel matters.”

In the words of others . . .

“I find Sharon to be a kind, creative, and sincere educator. . . .She has created a successful learning environment, and has been a real technology leader here at Lion Lane.”
 Dale Dane, Lion Lane School for Early Learning Assistant Director

“My son has been blessed with the opportunity to be taught by an exceptional teacher in his first year of education. . . .Mrs. Mahabir is also an innovator. . . .She has a blog to keep parents abreast of the many activities going on in her classroom.”
  Nancy Jackson, Lion Lane School student parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Teacher of the Year Nominee, The Lion lane School, 2012-2013
Technology Campus Trainer, The Lion lane School
Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), Member, 2013-Present
Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA), Member, 2007-2013


Meadow Wood Elementary 2014 Teacher of the Year- Jessica Brand

Jessica Brand
Meadow Wood Elementary
Kindergarten, All Subjects

Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Bachelor Plus in Education, 2004
The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio), Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science, 2002

Teaching History
Meadow Wood Elementary, Spring Branch ISD, 2013-2014
Village Preparatory School, 2009-2013
ScholArts Preparatory School, Columbus, Ohio, 2005-2013

10 years total of teaching experience

In her own words…

“The biggest reward in the field of education is that of growth. The look in a child’s eyes when they fully understand a concept or have mastered a skill is enough reward in itself. My classroom is a sanctuary for learning. I pride myself in managing a classroom that is fun, engaging, exciting and full of resources. Dr .Seuss once said, ‘the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!’ I want my students to go places beyond their wildest dreams.”

In the words of others . . .

“Although Ms. Brand is new to Spring Branch and new to Meadow Wood, Ms. Brand is in her 10th year as an educator. . . . It is clear when you see her in action that she is teaching “children” and not merely the content. She provides her students with structure, love, acceptance and grace, and treats each child as an individual. ”           
  Pamela Redd, Meadow Wood Elementary Principal

“Ms. Brand is unlike any teacher I’ve ever had. And really . . . she is more than a teacher. She is a friend to these kiddos at a very transformative time in their life. She truly loves what she does, and we are blessed that our daughter’s first step into the “big kid” world was via Ms. Brand’s class.”
 Tina M. Aguilar, volunteer and parent

Selected Honors, Awards & Activities:
Pre-kindergarten/Kindergarten Team Leader, Meadow Wood Elementary, 2013-Present
Kindergarten Grade Level Schair, Village Preparatory School, 2011-2012
Teacher of the Month, Village Preparatory School, October 2011


Spring Branch ISD