Campus Secondary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Shelby Acevedo

Shelby Acevedo
Northbrook High School
9-12th Grades - Special Education Reading

University of St. Thomas, Master’s Degree in Exceptionalities and Special Education, 2012
University of Houston, Bachelor of Arts in History, 2004
Certifications: Gifted & Talented

Teaching History
Northbrook High School, 2004-Present

Total Years in Education - 11 years

In her own words . . .

“Over the years, I have come to believe conceptually that being an educator is not that different from being a physician. We assess, diagnose and implement interventions for the purpose of developing and impacting one’s quality of life. Physicians work on physical and mental well-being. We work in the areas of cognition, social and emotional well-being. ”

In the words of others . . .

“Shelby is a problem solver, and she dedicates her time and talent to making Northbrook High School a great place to learn. Students and teachers alike are impacted by her knowledge and teaching. . . . She is a dynamic educator and one conversation with her can alter perceptions and motivate change.”
- Rebecca Dunlap, Northbrook High IEP Specialist

“Mrs. Acevedo proves time and time again to be the embodiment of our SBISD core values and leadership. She mentors, teaches, leads and inspires those around her daily. Her passion and love for our profession is present in everything she does.”
- Amanda Breland, Northbrook High teacher


Campus Elementary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Patricia Kassir

Patricia Kassir
The Bendwood School

3rd-5th Grade - Gifted & Talented

University of St. Thomas, Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership
University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
Certifications: Spanish, French, Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language, Gifted & Talented, Principal (Anticipated 2016)

Teaching History
The Bendwood School, 2004-Present
Pine Shadows Elementary, 2002-04
Raul C. Martinez Elementary, Houston ISD, 1998-2002 and 1995-96
Al-Iman Islamic School, Tripoli, Lebanon, 1996-98
Gallegos Elementary, Houston ISD, 1992-95

Total Years in Education - 23 years

In her own words . . .

“I work to challenge my students to push beyond their intellectual limits. This is done through lessons that keep rigor and challenge as a high priority. It is our responsibility to ensure that [students] develop a healthy work ethic and that their intellectual and emotional needs are met. Our nation’s well-being and economic strength depend on it.”

In the words of others . . .

“Mrs. Kassir teaches a cross-section of the children from the District, including the children of parents who hold professional degrees and children of parents who speak no English. She is able to stimulate the minds of all these children and instill in them a love of learning and an appreciation of science.”
- Parent and Attorney-at-Law Ann Ryan Robertson

“Whenever I visit Mrs. Kassir’s classroom, every single student is engaged in meaningful lesson activities. The discussions, debates, dissections and demonstrations that take place on a regular basis in her classroom help her students to experience learning on many levels. She has an uncanny ability to tell the best stories, always weaving history with science. When she tells stories, her students are mesmerized. There is a buzzing energy in her room, and it is contagious.”
- The Bendwood School Principal Jana Bassett

“Mrs. Kassir’s  passion for education affects her students in many positive ways. They leave each day with a desire to explore topics further and have dreams about their future careers. Undoubtedly, some of those children will become future medical professionals, engineers, scientists, lawyers, writers and professors!”
- The Bendwood School teacher Brooke Christopherson


Campus Elementary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Briana Zarea

Briana Zarea
Buffalo Creek Elementary
3rd Grade - Math, Science

University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
Houston Community College, 2 years
Certification: Early Childhood through 4th Grade

Teaching History
Buffalo Creek Elementary, 7 years,
3rd Grade, Math & Science Teacher, 2 years
3rd Grade, English as a Second Language-Self-Contained, 5 years

Total Years in Education - 7 years

In her own words . . .

“We want to see our students be the best they can be, now and in the future. I always enjoy visits from past students and getting to hear what they have accomplished. I use these opportunities to remind them to keep working hard and to never give up.”

In the words of others . . .

“Mrs. Zarea builds careful and strong relationships with her students. If you ask her about any student, she will quickly tell you what makes them tick and what will shut them down. Mrs. Zarea’s calm demeanor allows her to communicate effectively when building the ever-essential relationships. She is able to put her students at ease and she manages her class in that manner.”
- David Rodriguez, Buffalo Creek Elementary Principal

“Briana Zarea has a calling in her life, and that calling is teaching. She teaches her students to strive for excellence, to love reading, and to respect each other. Mrs. Zarea represents the best in teaching in our district.”
- Clarice Franke, Buffalo Creek Elementary Assistant Principal

“Mrs. Zarea’s lessons are well planned with targeted outcomes that make Buffalo Creek Elementary a better place because she teaches here. She provides a strong emphasis on writing and reading comprehension, and equips them with a strong foundation for higher level classes.”
- Delfino Guillen, Ed.D., Buffalo Creek Elementary First Grade Teacher


Campus Elementary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Molly Nipper

Molly Nipper
The Bendwood School

3rd-5th Grade - Gifted & Talented/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Physics, Engineering


Rice University, Master’s Degree in Science Teaching
University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Psychology with minor in Biology

Teaching History
The Bendwood School, 2013-Present
Memorial High School, 2012-13
Hodges Bend Middle School, Fort Bend ISD, 2006-12

Total Years in Education - 9 years

In her own words . . .

“The students INSPIRE me! I am motivated when the students tell me they ‘love’ coming to Bendwood and that is their favorite day of the week. Parents telling me that their children love ‘physics’ or want to become an engineer motivates me to be a better teacher every day. I am motivated to teach STEM because I see my students learning physics and engineering, and enjoying it.”

In the words of others . . .

“My observation is that as a teacher/leader she is a true professional, performing her duties with the utmost efficiency and ability. Molly is innovative and dynamic within the classroom, infusing her students with tremendous motivation and instilling within them a joy for learning.”

- Rice University Assistant Director of Elementary STEM Education Ericka Lawton

“Molly looks for new, exciting ways to bring the latest science, technology, authentic data, and best practices to her students in her classroom and to expand learning beyond her classroom by helping fellow educators. She is always energetic, enthusiastic, and leads with laughter.”

- Dawn Turney, Space Dept. Education/Communications Specialist, The Johns Hopkins University


Campus Elementary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Patricia “Trish” Jenkins

Patricia “Trish” Jenkins
Bunker Hill Elementary
4th Grade - Language Arts, Social Studies

University of Houston, Bachelor of Science in Education (Grades 1-8)

Teaching History
Bunker Hill Elementary, 2005-Present
Spring Branch Middle, 2002-05
Valley Oaks, 2001-02
Meadow View Elementary, Santa Rosa, Calif., 1998-2001
Buffalo Creek, 1997-98
Frostwood Elementary, 1986-97

Total Years in Education - 29 years

In her own words . . .

“I believe wholeheartedly that my job is to instill the love of learning in each child. If that is my destination, then my map would be to build meaningful relationships with each student. As an elementary teacher, I can think of no grander call than to help ignite the fire that burns in each child.”

In the words of others . . .

“Trish’s classroom is full of smiling students who vary in their learning needs, as well as their cultural backgrounds. Each one feels special in her class because of the way she clearly and genuinely shows that she cares about each. . . . She finds ways to connect to her students to find the keys that truly unlock their brains and open them to new understandings.”
- Valerie Muniz, Bunker Hill Elementary Principal

“Her sense of humor is infectious and brings smiles to all. She creates a community of learners by demonstrating fairness yet firmness and building compassionate relationships with all her students. Everyone feels valued in Ms. Jenkins class.”
- Karen Justl, SBISD Educational Technology Facilitator


Campus Elementary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Maria X. Calero

Maria X. Calero
Cedar Brook Elementary
4th Grade - Bilingual Language Arts

La Sabana University, Chia (Bogota), Colombia, Bachelor’s Degree in Social Communication and Journalism
Alternative Certification Program, I Teach Texas, Early Childhood to 4th Grade Bilingual

Teaching History
Cedar Brook Elementary, 2012-Present
Hollibrook Elementary, 2008-12 and 2004-07

Total Years in Education - 10 years

In her own words . . .

“During my 10 years as a bilingual teacher – all in Spring Branch ISD – I have worked tirelessly to instill a love of learning that will enable my students to seriously consider and have the opportunity to attend college, technical school, or other career options.”

In the words of others . . .

“Maria loves her students. She shows them she cares for them by the authentic relationships she has built with them. Parents trust Mrs. Calero and students love her in return.”
- Jeff Post, Cedar Brook Elementary Principal

“Maria supports and utilizes all resources that will enrich and support students. She is an organized, committed and enthusiastic teacher, and her willingness to go the extra mile is a wonderful example for all teachers. ”
- Mallory Shaddix, Community Volunteer and Mentor


Campus Secondary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Leslie Iler

Leslie Iler
Memorial High School
10th Grade - Language Arts II, Pre-AP Language Arts II

Rice University, Advanced Placement Institute, 2012
NEH Program for Multicultural Literacy, Summers 1993, 1994
Baylor University, Bachelor of Science in Education with concentration in English and Journalism, 1990
Certifications: Gifted & Talented

Teaching History
Memorial High School, 2012-Present and 1995-97
Jersey Village High School, 1991-94
Stafford High School, 1990-91

Total Years in Education - 9 years

In her own words . . .

“What inspires me most about teaching are my students. I love meeting 157 new people every year and inspiring them to do their personal best. There is no greater joy than helping another person reach higher than they have before. It’s incredible to see their ‘Aha!’ moments. It’s challenging to discover their strengths and reveal their strengths to them.”

In the words of others . . .

“Leslie Iler exemplifies the characteristics of a born teacher: innovative, enterprising, flexible, engineering, dedicated, logical, sincere, concerned and courageous. . . . Leslie displays a genuine concern for her students not only to master the content of her class, but also to succeed and grow personally.”
- Karie Culbertson, Memorial High Counselor

“I was a student who never had much interest in literature, and I was never eager to learn about it. However, when I entered my sophomore year with Mrs. Iler as my English teacher, that mindset changed. She taught literature as if it was the most exciting and interesting subject to talk about. She knew how to grasp every student’s attention and heart.”
- Johanna Cho, former student

“At Memorial High, Leslie is known for her eagerness and enthusiasm. Her administrators and fellow teachers know that they can count on her support for any endeavor. In fact, the first words out of Leslie’s mouth are ‘Yes!’, ‘That’s a great idea!’, and ‘How can I help?’”
- Laura Kohlmaier, Memorial High English teacher


Campus Secondary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Maggie Fuchs

Maggie Fuchs
Spring Woods High School
Physical Education and Health Teacher
Girls Varsity Soccer Coach and Junior Varsity Volleyball Coach

The University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, 1981

Teaching History
Spring Woods High School, 1995-Present
Texas City High School, 1985-1995
Anderson High School, Austin, 1983-84
Austin ISD Substitute, 1981-82

Total Years in Education - 33 years

In her own words . . .

“I was inspired to teach, because my grandmother, mother and two sisters were teachers. My father was a doctor, and my two brothers went into the medical profession as well. This inspired me to go into teaching Health, and I love it!”

In the words of others . . .

“You will find those who employ more cutting-edge teaching techniques or who are more technologically adept. What you are unlikely to find is someone who has devoted the bulk of their professional career to a single school, resolute in making a difference through athletics and, in a [Health] course that on paper seems to be little beyond an insignificant, elective course that, in fact, engages students in critical conversations that no one else is having.”
- Paige Hershey, Spring Branch ISD Executive Director of Athletics

“Maggie has played an important role in the lives of so many students. Former students and players come back year after year. She is often invited to their weddings and other significant events in their lives.”
- Marc Pollicove, Spring Woods High Industrial Technology teacher

“Maggie Fuchs is dedicated to Spring Woods High and Spring Branch ISD. Many educators come and go with aspirations of more . . . Maggie Fuchs finds ‘more’ every year at Spring Woods with her students and demonstrates professional grit to never, never, never give up.”
- Jennifer Parker, Spring Woods High Principal


Campus Elementary 2015 Teacher of the Year - Karen Ferraro

Karen Ferraro
Frostwood Elementary

4th Grade - Language Arts/Social Studies

Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches
Postgraduate Studies, Master Reading Teacher Program, 2008-09
Master’s Degree in Education, Early Childhood Education, 2003-05
Bachelor of Arts, Theater and Psychology, 1999-2002
Summa Cum Laude graduate

Teaching History
Frostwood Elementary, 8 years
  • 4th Grade, Language Arts and Social Studies, 2009-11, 2014-15
  • 2nd Grade, 2011-2014
  • Kindergarten, 2007-09
Wilchester Elementary, 1 year
  • Kindergarten
Diocese of Tyler, St. Patrick Catholic School, 2 years
  • Kindergarten, 2003-05

Total Years in Education - 11 years

In her own words . . .

“Teachers need to make time for students to read during the school day. Lessons need to be planned to ensure that time for reading is a priority and that reading is incorporated into all subjects. Reading should not be only an activity for a reading block. Students should read in all subject areas to acquire vocabulary and reading skills across many genres and topics.”

In the words of others . . .

“Mrs. Ferraro is one of the hardest working, generous, kind, compassionate and loyal teachers with whom I have had the good fortune to work. I am humbled to be part of a school that has a community led by such an accomplished and giving person.”
- Ellen Green, Frostwood Elementary Principal

“Karen’s kids leave her class with a love for learning – she excites that in children. I have had parents tell me how much their child has grown while in her classroom. I believe that Karen is a very caring, loving, strong teacher. Our campus is very fortunate to have her.”
- Barbara Perry, Frostwood Elementary


Spring Branch ISD