Spring ISD Board of Trustees President Rhonda Newhouse, left, was joined by other trustees and administrators to recognize Spring High School CBI paraprofessional Shaniquia Earl as recipient of the board’s January 2018 Employee Excellence Award.
Continuing its tradition of recognizing outstanding contributions by Spring ISD employees through its Employee Excellence Award, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees named Shaniquia Earl as the January 2018 recipient of the award. A community based instruction (CBI) paraprofessional working with Spring High School’s special education students, Earl was honored Tuesday, Jan. 23, with a surprise visit from trustees and administrators during a brief recognition ceremony in the school’s lobby.
In announcing the award, Board of Trustees President Rhonda Newhouse commended Earl’s passion and dedication to helping the district’s special education students succeed.
“When Ms. Earl was nominated for the award, we were told that she is always present, always ready to lend a hand of support,” Newhouse said. “She is relentless in her pursuit of being the best, striving for excellence in all that she does and bringing tenacity and perseverance in spite of difficulties. She is a true example of what the district’s core values are all about.”
A 2010 graduate of Spring High School who also attended Salyers and Winship elementary schools and Twin Creeks Middle School, Earl went on to earn a degree in human services with a minor in education, then joined the staff at Spring High School in January 2015 as a paraprofessional. Although finding herself back at her old high school wasn’t part of Earl’s original post-college plan, she said the experience has taught her a lot about herself and what she wants to do.
“At first, this was going to be a place to work until I could move into the field of human services and social work,” Earl said, “but being here, working with these kids every day, I’ve discovered that I really like teaching.”
Earl has continued her training, and is now nearing completion of requirements for her teacher certification. Other teachers who have worked with Earl are hoping she’ll stay and become a teacher herself once she’s certified. And, according to Spring High School Principal Diaka Melendez, Earl is more than welcome to stick around Spring ISD.
“She’s awesome,” Melendez said. “She’s a pleasure to work with, she’s always positive, and she’s really here for the kids. Ms. Earl has contributed a lot as a paraprofessional at Spring High School, and we’ve definitely been encouraging her as she pursues her teacher certification.”
In presenting the award, Newhouse also made special note of Earl’s personal and professional resilience following the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
“Ms. Earl lost everything during Harvey,” Newhouse said, “but you wouldn’t have known it. She was present every day, ready to take on the struggling students and never ever complaining or compromising. She exhibits true dedication.”
Newhouse was joined by fellow trustees Winford Adams Jr., Donald Davis, Justine Durant, Jana Gonzales and Deborah Jensen. Superintendent Rodney Watson, Chief Human Resources Officer Deeone McKeithan and Spring High School Associate Principal Hannibal Trent also attended, as did several teachers from the school.
As with previous Employee Excellence Award recipients, Earl received a framed certificate, a recognition pin and a check for $100 funded by the Spring ISD Education Foundation. She will also be in the running for a $1,000 prize to be awarded during the district’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet at the end of the school year.
Earl said the award came as a complete surprise, and that the call she received right before the ceremony brought back at least one high school memory that most alums are happy to leave behind after graduation. “I’m really excited to receive it,” she said, “but I was actually pretty nervous at first, because I didn’t know why they were calling me down to the principal’s office.”