HOUSTON – March 27, 2019 – Two Spring ISD employees were the latest to be surprised on Monday morning by members of the Spring ISD Board of Trustees as the Employee Excellence Award winners for February and March.
Spring ISD Transportation bus driver Ann Brownfield and Bailey Middle School eighth-grade counselor Melanie Schmitz were selected as the most recent recipients for the recognition.
“We are always saying that Spring ISD is a family and we do things as a team,” Board President Rhonda Newhouse said. “It takes every employee in the district to help make our district successful, for it to grow. The board decided to start recognizing employees more often, and we wanted to do it on a monthly basis because we know we have employees doing outstanding work throughout the year.”
Trustees started the morning at Bailey Middle School, where they were joined by Bailey Principal George Flores and select campus staff members to recognize Schmitz for her work with students and the community. Schmitz was nominated by a Bailey parent, one who had first-hand experience of her above-and-beyond commitment to students and their families.
“There was a family that was homeless for over two months this school year,” Newhouse said in presenting the award. “Ms. Schmitz not only completed required McKinney-Vento paperwork, but facilitated transportation and went as far as to help get clothes and socks and warm jackets for the winter. She’s been in contact with the family ever since they became homeless. Everyone is super appreciative of her.”
Recounting the mother’s own words, Newhouse said of Schmitz, “‘She truly makes this hard time much easier.’”
Schmitz moved to Texas with her family five years ago when she and her husband both started work with Spring ISD, she as a counselor at Bailey and he as a chemistry teacher at Spring Early College Academy. Saying she was surprised by the award, Schmitz emphasized that looking out for the needs of students – both in and out of class – is what counselors do.
“We just do what we need to do for our students,” Schmitz said following the brief ceremony. “I didn’t do anything extra in this case that I wouldn’t have done for any other student. This award was a complete shock. I appreciate it so much.”
Flores, who has worked with Schmitz since his arrival as principal at the campus in 2017, said that he especially appreciates the way Schmitz and her team help connect the campus to the surrounding community.
“I think that what makes a campus whole at heart is really building those relationships with the community,” he said. “Our counselors have so many roles and responsibilities, but to Melanie in particular the non-negotiable is making sure we’re there for our students and for their families. This award is just a testament to her heart and her drive to be a champion for students.”
After leaving Bailey, the trustees headed to the district’s transportation center to honor Brownfield. During that presentation, Newhouse said that Brownfield had a special knack for connecting with the students she drives to and from school each day.
“Ms. Brownfield has a radiant smile and an amazing work ethic that does not allow for ‘That’s not my job’,” read Brownfield’s nomination form. “She goes the extra mile, literally, to get to know her students by name, and to ensure they get to and from school in a safe and timely manner. I feel blessed to know her and to call her my teammate.”
Brownfield, who has worked for the district for almost 18 years, says she was overwhelmed by the surprise recognition at the Transportation bus barn.
“I was thinking this was just a parent meeting,” said Brownfield. “ I know my babies, and that’s from high school all the way to elementary. I drive pretty much every route.”
Spring ISD’s assistant director of transportation Kenneth Coleman, who arranged to get Brownfield to the surprise, spoke highly of the veteran bus driver and says the department is glad to have her.
“She’s energetic, exciting, and loves her job,” said Coleman. “That’s the most important part.”
Also on hand for the presentations were trustees Jana Gonzales, Justine Durant, Donald Davis, and Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. Both employees received a framed certificate and a special Spring ISD recognition pin during the presentations, along with a check for $100. They will go on to join other 2018-19 winners at the district’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet later this spring for a chance to be awarded a $1,000 prize.
Brownfield and Schmitz were both nominated through the district’s “elevate” online submission form. Any employee, parent, or community member can enter a nomination on the site to be considered. To learn more, or to nominate a hardworking Spring ISD employee, visit www.springisd.org/employee-recognition.