HOUSTON – April 25, 2018 – Honoring an individual who has spent the past decade growing and shaping the district’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday named Dr. Neelam Singh, the district’s core content director for science and math, as recipient of the April 2018 Employee Excellence Award. The board trustees who presented the award are President Rhonda Newhouse, Secretary Donald Davis, Assistant Secretary Justine Durant and Dr. Deborah Jensen.
In presenting the award, Newhouse praised Singh for her ongoing efforts to develop a close network of colleagues whose work supports teaching and learning in Spring ISD. Newhouse also thanked Singh for spearheading initiatives such as Science Olympiad and the district’s SECME program, which connects campuses with universities and industry partners to expose students to enrichment activities in science, technology, engineering and math.
“Neelam has led the charge in putting Spring ISD on the map with her targeted work with scholars and teachers,” Newhouse said. “Workers like you make it a joy for us to work with Spring ISD. We appreciate your hard work. Thank you so very, very much.”
After the ceremony, Singh reflected on her 10 years with Spring ISD, the choices in her life that brought her to the district, and what keeps her motivated each day in her work.
“When I was first hired in Spring ISD, as a skills specialist for the math and science department, I saw the potential in the students, how creative they were,” Singh said. “I felt that inquiry and investigation were something that could drive students’ learning. And so I started our first elementary science lab program in the district at Heritage Elementary School.”
That program grew and spread, helping to pave the way for other new developments in STEM education in the following years. Singh says she loves her current work, especially when it allows her to mentor teachers and students. But it wasn’t always an easy path to pursue, and some family members were skeptical when Singh – a straight-A student with a host of professional options – first declared her intent to go into education.
“I have a chain of doctors in my family,” she said, “and they were counting on me; they wanted me to get into the medical field, or engineering. When I said I wanted to be in education, they were kind of upset.”
But an enduring love of both science and learning, inspired in part by her own 11th-grade principal, kept Singh moving toward her goal. After completing bachelor’s degrees in both science and education, Singh went on to earn three master’s degrees – including degrees in science and English literature – as well as a doctorate in environmental science.
The rigor of that training helps her stay sharp, always on the lookout for ways to improve Spring ISD’s science and math curriculum. Meanwhile, Singh’s day-to-day work on the campuses keeps her energized and motivated.
“I just love being here,” Singh said. “Most of the time, I’m out in the field, working with the teachers and students, and that gives me immense joy. That’s something that I can never live without; it has become such an integral part of my life.”
The Employee Excellence Award, launched last fall and overseen by the Spring ISD Board of Trustees, recognizes employees who exemplify the district’s guiding principles and core values. Nominations frequently come from managers and department heads, but the nomination process is open to all employees, parents and community members.
Along with previous Employee Excellence Award recipients, Singh received a framed certificate and a recognition pin, together with a $100 check. In addition, she will join the other winners in being considered for a $1,000 prize to be awarded at the annual Spring ISD Employee Recognition Banquet in May.